Status: No accepted records.
Taxonomy: Four subspecies are generally recognized, two of which breed in North America: oenanthe breeding in northwest North America and wintering in tropical Africa, and leocorhoa breeding in northeast North America and also wintering in tropical Africa (Kren and Zoerbe 2020).
Comments: There are two published reports (Bray et al 1986), neither acceptably documented, although a sighting by Zimmer (1911) in Dawes Co 2 Dec 1910 is likely correct; he observed the bird closely for some time but was unable to collect it and stated that while he was “sure of the identity of the bird,” it “cannot be included in our fauna positively” as he was unable to secure it as a specimen. The other report was of five with Horned Larks 4 Jan 1970 in Gage Co (Patton 1970). A brief description was given, but longspur species would seem more likely.
This species breeds in arctic North America, but winters in the Old World. A few individuals occur along the east and west coasts of North America in spring and fall, and there are stragglers to the interior, also in spring and fall. There are about eight Great Plains reports, three during 5 Apr-15 May, and four during 12 Sep-22 Oct (some of these have not been accepted by local authorities). The Nebraska reports do not fit this pattern, although Northern Wheatear is a possibility in exposed rocky habitats, most likely in fall and early winter.
Bray, T.E., B.K. Padelford, and W.R. Silcock. 1986. The birds of Nebraska: A critically evaluated list. Published by the authors, Bellevue, Nebraska, USA.
Kren, J. and A.C. Zoerb. 2020. Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.norwhe.01.
Patton, F. 1970. Wheatears? NBR 38: 18.
Zimmer, J.T. 1911. Some notes on the winter birds of Dawes County. Proceedings Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union 5: 19-30.
Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2020. Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), Version 1.0. In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org