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Citrine Wagtail

From Opus

Photo by Rajiv Lather Karnal, India
Photo by Rajiv Lather
Karnal, India
Motacilla citreola


[edit] Identification

Male : Breeding Plumage : Ssp. calcarataPhoto by Alok Tewari Basai Wetlands, Gurgaon, India, May-2014
Male : Breeding Plumage : Ssp. calcarata
Photo by Alok Tewari
Basai Wetlands, Gurgaon, India, May-2014

15.5-17 cm (6-6¾ in).
Two very noticeable white bars on wing coverts.
Summer Male: Lemon-yellow head, black hind collar and blue or slate-grey upperparts. Bright yellow below.
Adult Female and winter Male are much duller.

[edit] Similar Species

Yellow Wagtail, which lacks the grey back.

[edit] Distribution

FemalePhoto by PavlikThe Saratov area, Russia, May 2004
Photo by Pavlik
The Saratov area, Russia, May 2004

Citrine Wagtail has a breeding distribution from Russia through Siberia, and south to Iran, Afghanistan, India, Tibet, China, and Myanmar.

The species is migratory at least in parts of its range, and is a rare but regular guest to western Europe.

Accidental vagrant to the United States with one record in Mississippi.

[edit] Taxonomy

Generally speaking, citreola is a north-eastern subspecies, werae is south and west of that, and calcarata is south of both.

A recent paper by Pavlova et al. (2003) has proposed that Citrine wagtail should be split into two species, an eastern and a western part[2]. The evidence came from DNA analysis and indicated that when an analysis included Yellow Wagtail, the two populations of Citrine wagtail were not each others closest relatives. This split is not at present accepted by many taxonomic authorities but if it were to become accepted, the western species (corresponding to current subspecies werae) would breed west and south of a line from a little east of the west end of Mongolia to the White Sea, while the eastern species (corresponding to citreola) would be confined to areas north and east of that line. The authors seemed not to sample the range of calcarata.

[edit] Subspecies

There are 3 subspecies[1]:

  • M. c. citreola:
  • M. c. werae:
  • M. c. calcarata:

[edit] Habitat

Wet meadows, tundra, bogs.

[edit] Behaviour

Less inclined to bob the head or wag the tail than other wagtails.

[edit] Breeding

It is a ground nester and 4-5 speckled eggs are laid.

[edit] Diet

The diet includes insects.

[edit] Vocalisation

Listen in an external program

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from
  2. The paper that proposes a split of Citrine Wagtail
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  5. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6

[edit] External Links


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