Mourning wheatear, Yotvata, Israel, February 2011. Click photos for large size. Photos: TLP
During a visit to Yotvata, Israel, February 18th 2011, we found this wheatear at the compost heap near the northern circular field. First, we thought it was a pied wheatear, because of the black and white plumage. But after studying these photos, we believe it is a 2cy mourning wheatear (2cy because of juvenile flight feathers).
The orange wash on undertail coverts, restricted black throat and black and white plumage seem to support mourning. However, the primaries do not appear as white as expected on a ssp. lugens mourning wheatear.
But is the white on primaries also prominent on juvenile feathers on lugens? Could it be another subspecies? Or perhaps another species?