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White Wagtail

From Opus

(Redirected from Pied Wagtail)
M. a. alba Photo by Christian MihaiBucharest, Romania, April 2009
M. a. alba
Photo by Christian Mihai
Bucharest, Romania, April 2009
Motacilla alba

Includes: Pied Wagtail; Masked Wagtail; Black-backed Wagtail; Amur Wagtail; Himalayan Wagtail

Contents

[edit] Identification

Length 16.5–18 cm (6-7 in), weight 17-25 g
Nominate subspecies in spring plumage is grey above with two white wingbars and white edgings to several feather tracts and white below (including relatively clean flanks), it has a white face, black cap and black throat; male has sharp demarkation of cap versus mantle, female diffuse.

Pied Wagtail M. a. yarrelliPhoto by christineredgateHaverigg, Cumbria
Pied Wagtail M. a. yarrelli
Photo by christineredgate
Haverigg, Cumbria

In winter, the black in the throat area is reduced to a relatively narrow band, and the contrast on the upperside is reduced to the extent that the female may completely lack the black cap.

Juvenile plumage can be extremely weakly marked, but soon becomes first winter, which is similar to a less contrasting winter female; however, the head especially can look yellowish.

A thread discussing the separation of White and Pied Wagtails.

Variation among subspecies is large; for descriptive notes on other subspecies see the taxonomy section.

[edit] Distribution

Pied Wagtail M. a. yarrelli, juvenilePhoto by cheersm8Grazing Marsh, Cambridgeshire, UK
Pied Wagtail M. a. yarrelli, juvenile
Photo by cheersm8
Grazing Marsh, Cambridgeshire, UK

Widespread and abundant from Iceland, northern Norway and Novaya Zemlya south to the north Mediterranean coast and northwest Africa, and east across northern and central Asia in Siberia, Japan, Korea, China and the Himalaya; also just into North America in western Alaska. In the Mediterranean breeds on Sicily and Crete, irregularly on Sardinia and Cyprus.

A summer visitor to the north and east of its range, resident elsewhere. Widespread throughout southern Europe and around the Mediterranean in winter with some migrants wintering in tropical Africa and Asia.

Vagrants recorded north to Bear Island, Jan Mayen and Svalbard and south to the Azores, Madeira and Cape Verde Islands, and in North America mostly on the west coast south to Baja California, but also in Michigan, Louisiana, Florida, and North and South Carolina.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Juvenile, nominate subspeciesPhoto by Cristian MihaiCiocanu (AG), Romania, July 2016
Juvenile, nominate subspecies
Photo by Cristian Mihai
Ciocanu (AG), Romania, July 2016

Eleven subspecies are accepted Clements[1], and nine by IOC[2]:

  • M. a. yarrellii - Pied Wagtail
  • Ireland, Britain and locally adjacent coastal western Europe; mainly resident, some wintering south to Spain. Differs from M. a. alba in having black rather than grey back and dark dusky flanks; female have greyer back, but still clearly darker than M. a. alba; other plumages also similar to M. a. alba but with darker tones especially on back, flanks and rump. Sometimes split as a separate species[3].
  • M. a. alba - White Wagtail
  • Southeast Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Scandinavia, and throughout continental Europe east to the Ural Mountains and the Caucasus; summer visitor in northern areas, resident further south; a common passage migrant and rare breeder in Britain, and vagrant in eastern USA. IOC includes M. a. dukhunensis and M. a. persica in M. a. alba as synonyms.
Black-backed Wagtail M. a. lugensPhoto by FrancksanHokkaido, Japan
Black-backed Wagtail M. a. lugens
Photo by Francksan
Hokkaido, Japan
  • M. a. persica
  • West and central Iran; also winters in Iraq, is perhaps not a valid race, intermediate between M. a. personata and either M. a. alba or M. a. dukhunensis.
Himalayan Wagtail M. a. alboidesPhoto by peterdayBhutan
Himalayan Wagtail M. a. alboides
Photo by peterday
Bhutan
M. a. personataPhoto by Mike BarthUnited Arab Emirates, December 2016
M. a. personata
Photo by Mike Barth
United Arab Emirates, December 2016
  • M. a. dukhunensis
  • Southern Russia and the Caucasus. Paler back than M. a. alba and broader white markings on greater coverts, but intergrades extensively.
  • M. a. subpersonata - Moroccan White Wagtail
  • Western Morocco; resident; vagrant in France. Head and breast black with white forehead, and side of head a complex pattern of black and white and white spot on the sides of neck.
  • M. a. personata - Masked Wagtail
  • Northern Iran to SW Siberia, W Mongolia, NW China and the western Himalaya; vagrant in Germany, and (2016) Wales. Head and breast black with white forehead and mask around eye much smaller than at M. a. alba, and extensive white on greater coverts.
  • M. a. baicalensis
  • South-central Siberia to northeast China. Similar to M. a. alba but males with extensive white on wing coverts forming a large white wing panel.
  • M. a. ocularis
  • Northern Siberia to northwest Alaska; winters southeast Asia; vagrant on the west coast of North America south to Baja California. Similar to M. a. alba but with males extensive white on wing coverts forming a large white wing panel; differs from M. a. baicalensis in fine black line through eye.
  • M. a. lugens - Black-backed Wagtail
  • Coastal southeast Siberia and islands, northern Korea and northern and central Japan; vagrant on the west coast of North America. Black above with white wings. Formerly sometimes treated as full species[4].
  • M. a. leucopsis - Amur Wagtail
  • Inland southeast Siberia, central and eastern China, southern Korea and southwest Japan. When M. a. lugens treated as a species, included in it as a subspecies; also occasionally considered a separate species.
  • M. a. alboides - Himalayan Wagtail
  • Central and eastern Himalaya to southern China, northern Indochina and northern Myanmar. When M. a. lugens treated as a species, included in it as a subspecies; also occasionally considered a separate species.

[edit] Habitat

Open areas with some vegetation from Arctic regions and high mountains to semi-deserts and sea-coasts. Usually beside freshwater including ditches, streams, rivers and from pools up to the largest lakes and reservoirs. Also occurs away from water on farmland, frequently in farmyards and in town parks and gardens. Often forms large roosts in winter.

[edit] Behaviour

Very active, running around on open ground to pick up insects; usually fairly noisy, calling frequently. Like all wagtails, wags tail up and down almost constantly. Sings from a conspicuous perch, such as roof or wall tops.

[edit] Flight

Subspecies leucopsisPhoto by thebirdguySeoul, South Korea
Subspecies leucopsis
Photo by thebirdguy
Seoul, South Korea

Markedly undulating flight.

[edit] Breeding

The nest is a grass cup in hole or crevice and can be found in a bank, cliff, woodpile or shed. The clutch consists of 5 or 6 whitish eggs speckled with grey. They are incubated for about 2 weeks and fledge a further 2 weeks later. There may be 2 or 3 broods in the season which runs from March to September.

[edit] Diet

Can be seen scuttling around after insects, larvae and other invertebrates; also takes human-provided food like breadcrumbs.

[edit] Vocalisation

Strong tchizick in flight


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[edit] Gallery

Click on photo for larger image

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2016. IOC World Bird Names (version 6.4). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
  3. van den Berg, A. (2016). Dutch Birding Checklist of Dutch bird species
  4. Sibley, DA. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0679451228
  5. (M. lugens was separated as a distinct species by the American Ornithologists' Union from 1982 until 2005, when lumped back into M. alba)
  6. Birdwatching Magazine

[edit] External Links



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