The whinchat has suffered dramatic losses in population since the 1960s. Once a frequent and characteristic bird of the valley bottom between Zell am See and Krimml, it has since be severely decimated.
At a length of 12.5 cm, the whinchat is somewhat smaller than a sparrow. The head and upperparts are brownish black, the throat and breast orange, with a whitish belly. In contrast to the European stonechat, it has a white stripe above the eye.
In autumn, these small birds fly south of the Sahara to the savannahs of Africa.
The whinchat eats insects that are exploring flowers. When hunting, it often perches on fences and high shrubs such as cabbage thistle and meadowsweet.
Whinchats (Saxicola rubetra) build their nests in patches of established grassland. Here they find an ample food supply. However, whinchats in the Zeller See area are gradually disappearing. Simple measures, such as leaving grassy areas untouched, could make a significant contribution to maintaining its population in Salzburg. Likewise, by not mowing until after July, giving the young a chance to survive.