Stonechat, Whinchat and Wheatear are charming, bold and bright birds, in contrast to their often bleak surroundings. Their striking colours and cheery demeanour make them a delight for birdwatchers and photographers alike. They are members of the thrush family, predominately ground-nesting in undisturbed, open habitats.
Early results from the Bird Atlas 2007-11 and monitoring schemes like Breeding Bird Surveys indicate that populations of all three species have declined, probably caused by changes in land use, agriculture and climate. Both Wheatear and Whinchat are candidates for upgrading to the highest level of conservation concern.
The chat survey has been started in Wales to bring a special focus on the relationship between the birds and the habitats and landscapes that sustain them, and will be followed by full survey of the UK.