Whinchats breed in Europe from northern Spain, eastward to the Urals and into the western Siberian plain. They winter in two main areas of sub-Saharan Africa, from Mauritania to Cameroon and from north-east DRC south to Malawi and northern Zambia. In Britain, in the 19th century, they bred throughout the mainland, but by the end of the 20th century they had retreated mostly to the upland areas of Scotland, northern England, Wales and the moors of Devon and Cornwall. Between the 1968-72 Breeding Atlas and Bird Atlas 2007-11 their range contracted by 47%.
    The Wiltshire population is mostly concentrated on Salisbury Plain which holds the most significant breeding population remaining in lowland Britain. But even there they are in decline: between Birds of Wiltshire and WTA2 the number of Wiltshire tetrads where they were recorded breeding declined from 62 to 37.
The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.