The desert wheatear is a migratory insectivorous species, 6 inches in length. Both western and eastern forms of the desert wheatear are rare vagrants to western Europe. The western desert wheatear breeds in the Sahara and the northern Arabian peninsula. The eastern race is found in the semi-deserts of central Asia and in winter in Pakistan and northeast Africa.
The plumage of the upper parts of the male in summer is buff. The underparts are white with a buff tinge on the breast. The black on the face and throat extends to the shoulders, and there is distinct white superciliary stripe. The female is greyer above and buffer below and has no black on the throat, and in the winter plumage the black on the throat of the male is partially obscured by the white tips of the feathers. A distinguishing characteristic, in both sexes of all ages, is that the entire tail is black to the level of the upper tail-coverts.