The genus Saxicola, the stonechats or chats, is a genus of 14 species of small passerine birds restricted to the Old World. They are insectivores of open scrubland and grassland with scattered small shrubs.
Saxicola torquata was at one time used for the supposed taxon "Common Stonechat". With addition of mtDNA cytochrome b sequence and nDNA fingerprinting data (Urquhart & Bowley 2002, Wink et al. 2002), it was confirmed that not only the Fuerteventura and Réunion Stonechats are distinct species. In addition, the African, European and Siberian Stonechats needed to be separated too. Due to confusion of subspecies allocation, the name S. torquata was briefly used for the European species, the African Stonechat being S. axillaris.
Studies from Max Planck Institute for Ornithology have provided new information about evolutionary biology.
Jun 29, 2010; Scientists discuss in 'Wing pointedness associated with migratory distance in common-garden and comparative studies of stonechats...