AppearanceIt is a 14–16 cm long bird named for its black tail, which is frequently fanned; the rest of its plumage is bluish-grey or grey-brown . The sexes are similar, but the male on average has blacker lores. The song is a clear melancholy whistle: ''CHURlee...TRUloo...CHURlee...TRUlur...'', with short phrases from the song used as a call.
NamingThe blackstart was formerly included as the type species in the genus ''Cercomela''. Molecular phylogenetic studies published in 2010 and 2012 found that the genus ''Cercomela'' was polyphyletic with five species, including the blackstart, phylogenetically nested within the genus ''Oenanthe''. As part of a reorganization of the species to create monotypic genera, the blackstart was assigned to the genus ''Oenanthe''.
DistributionThe blackstart is resident throughout its range.
⤷ In Egypt, the blackstart is common in the Sinai peninsula
⤷ In Israel the species is primarily found in the Negev Desert, Arava Valley and Dead Sea areas; it is present in areas of the Jordan River valley further north, but is scarcer there.
⤷ In Jordan, the species is only found in western parts of the country, in areas from the Jordan River valley south through the Dead Sea region to the Arava Valley and Aqaba Mountains.
BehaviorThe blackstart is a confident species, unafraid of man.
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