The name 'wheatear' appears to be a corruption of 'white arse', a more appropriate descriptive name as the primary field character of the bird in all plumages is a white rump and tail, the latter patterned with an inverted black T. The Wheatear Bird (male) in spring is blue-grey on the crown, mantle and lores, has black ear coverts and wings, and a prominent white supercilium. The underparts of Wheatear Bird are white with a suffusion of orange on the throat and breast. In the female the black parts are brown, and the back is grey-brown. In autumn, males turn brown on the mantle, buffy on the underparts and they lose the solid blacks.
A summer visitor and one of our first arrivals in spring. Its habitat choices are very varied, from Arctic tundra and rocky mountain slopes to downland, heath, moorland, dunes, coastal islands, pastures, fields and meadows, sea cliffs, bogs and steppe. Wheatear Bird is a terrestrial bird strongly tied to a habitat of short sward with bare patches where it can feed. On migration it occurs more widely, but always on short vegetation such as lawns, golf courses etc.
Wheatear Bird shares with other chats a single whistled note and a hard chacking note, the former a high-pitched level-toned "heetl" or "hiitl", the latter a short hard "chak chak" or "jk jk", typically used together as "heet! jk jk" when excited or alarmed. The song is a brief but confident outburst of fast, rather hard and crackling notes, such as "kh. k'chee'krr'che e'nk'khr'choo'wee", often with "heet" call notes included, and also some mimicry. On average the phrase lasts for 1.2-2 seconds and is sometimes introduced with one or two short hesitant "chak" notes with a pause before the main phrase. It becomes richer and more varied when given in a short song flight, but is otherwise sung from a prominent song post such as a wall, rock or wire.