The red-tailed wheatear feeds primarily on insects, surviving mainly on a diet of ants, beetles and larval moths and butterflies (2). It also takes a variety of other insects, from locusts to solitary wasps, and has even been recorded taking a small lizard. Plant material such as seeds, fruits and the leaves and stems of grasses also sometimes form part of its diet (3).
Food is obtained using a variety of methods, but the red-tailed wheatear will commonly use a ‘dash-and-jab’ technique, where the bird will launch an attack on prey on the ground from an elevated perch (2). This species is also known to pluck prey off vegetation, or dig food such as beetle larvae from the ground with its bill. A technique known as ‘wing-flashing’, where the bird flushes insects from underneath rocks by beating its wings and calling, is also sometimes used (7).
During the breeding season, the red-tailed wheatear is generally solitary, but when breeding it usually forms monogamous pairs (2) (8). Breeding usually starts between April and June, but in eastern Turkey breeding can be quite late, occurring between June and August (9). The red-tailed wheatear nests in rock crevices or among stones, creating loosely constructed shallow cups of grass for the nest. The nest is lined with fine fibres stripped from plant stems, and rests on a thick base comprised of small, flat stones (2). The eggs of the red-tailed wheatear are very pale blue with sparse, light red-brown spotting (3). The clutch of 4 to 6 eggs is usually incubated for around 13 days, and both of the adults feed the nestlings (8) (10).