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Oenanthe melanura

Common resident

Not found at Neolithic WF16

The Blackstart inhabits sparsely vegetated scrubland slopes, cliffs, acacias, and rocky wadis. For Wadi Faynan, this means you will find the Blackstart almost everywhere except the open desert in the west. Their nests are built within rock crevices or disused burrows by pairs of breeding birds.

As with the lark, the Bedouin of Wadi Faynan say that if you see a group of Blackstarts gathering together and singing, it means they have identified a snake within the landscape and are sending out a warning. Female Blackstarts construct stone ramparts outside the entrance of their nests, which may serve as an early warning system for approaching predators, enabling the bird to escape.

Image credit: ‘Blackstart’ by Fares Khoury from Jordan BirdWatch