The stonechat is onomatopoeic, in that its call sounds like two pebbles being struck together, and likes to perch on conspicuously on posts and perches. Consequently it is quite an easy bird to spot and identify, as the colouring with the call and characteristic behaviour add up to nothing other than a stonechat; often bird identification is about what it isn’t as much as what it is.

I have mentioned Ashdown Forest before in my Bird of the Day post about the Linnet, and that habitat is perfect for stonechats too. The male in autumn is a beautiful bird with his dark chocolate-black head, white collar, and rusty-orange breast. Females have less defined markings, and like the juveniles, are much more spotty and marled. I hardly ever get to paint females as the plumage is usually more diffused and designed for camouflage; female bullfinches are one of the few.

I love the autumn colours of this painting:

This little chap is for sale in my Etsy Shop.

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