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Pied or White Wagtail?

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Old Sunday 19th April 2020, 08:22   #1
Louis_P
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Pied or White Wagtail?

Is this a Pied or White Wagtail? Taken on 13th April 2017 in the Norfolk countryside. Is there a simple way to tell them apart?

Thanks,
Louis
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Old Sunday 19th April 2020, 08:55   #2
osprey123
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Hi Louis, its a White Wagtail. Easiest way to tell adult birds apart is by the colour of the mantle (back). Grey in White Wagtail and Black in Pied Wagtail.
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Old Sunday 19th April 2020, 08:58   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osprey123 View Post
Hi Louis, its a White Wagtail. Easiest way to tell adult birds apart is by the colour of the mantle (back). Grey in White Wagtail and Black in Pied Wagtail.
But female Pied Wagtails are greyish on the back too, so this is not reliable. I would be hesitant to say what subspecies this bird is, but I would perhaps err towards a Pied.
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Old Sunday 19th April 2020, 10:05   #4
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Isn't it peak time for the Icelandic whites to be passing - just saying as he dives for the book....

If I saw this I would call it alba (white)

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Old Sunday 19th April 2020, 13:26   #5
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Isn't it peak time for the Icelandic whites to be passing - just saying as he dives for the book....

If I saw this I would call it alba (white)
It is but there are still a lot more Pieds in most places. It could be White, but to me it looks a bit on the dark end for that subspecies. On a picture like this I wouldn't want to commit. Some Pieds can look a lot like this.
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Old Sunday 19th April 2020, 14:02   #6
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The question was raised about White Wagtail migration before.

Nutcraker said this
Surprised you've had so few - virtually the entire Icelandic White Wagtail population passes through Britain and/or Ireland on spring and autumn migration, and that's probably not far short of the total population size of Pied Wag. One of the commoner inland passage birds in Britain, though surprisingly tricky to ID juveniles in the autumn.
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Old Sunday 19th April 2020, 14:09   #7
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So no, there isn't always a simple way to tell them apart. Based on flank colour I'd put this as M.a.alba but I'm not sure.

Have a look here.
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Old Sunday 19th April 2020, 14:22   #8
Andrew Whitehouse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosbifs View Post
The question was raised about White Wagtail migration before.

Nutcraker said this
Surprised you've had so few - virtually the entire Icelandic White Wagtail population passes through Britain and/or Ireland on spring and autumn migration, and that's probably not far short of the total population size of Pied Wag. One of the commoner inland passage birds in Britain, though surprisingly tricky to ID juveniles in the autumn.
Although they are not, in my experience, very evenly distributed. Migrating Whites are much more numerous in the west than the east, where the OP's picture was taken. Also, although the Icelandic population of Whites may be close in size to the British population of Pieds (I've no idea to be honest, although the UK Pied population is c.500,000 pairs and the only estimate I can find for Whites in Iceland is 50,000 pairs i.e. 10x less) they probably won't all be here at the same time, so the numbers in Britain at any one time would be lower than the total population. Pieds are, of course, widespread and common throughout lowland Britain.
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Old Sunday 19th April 2020, 15:46   #9
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I agree with Andrew, I think this is yarrellii, probably a female - though given the image quality a definitive identification isn't possible. There is definitely a bias in terms of records, having grown up in Norfolk I'd call White regular in small numbers/scarce, whereas here in Somerset, they can frequently outnumber Pied - e.g. yesterday I saw approximately 40 alba to 25 or so yarrellii. The mantle tone doesn't look pale enough for alba to me, though of course seeing the rump would be the clincher... I suspect this one was blackish!
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Old Sunday 19th April 2020, 16:28   #10
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Difficult to be certain from this one photo but I would say Pied.
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Old Monday 20th April 2020, 07:57   #11
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Thanks everyone! I'll keep looking for a local White Wagtail then (and hopefully get some decent photos).
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Old Monday 20th April 2020, 10:53   #12
Brian J Small
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Hi Louis

These articles might be of interest

http://files.biolovision.net/www.fau...D-WAGTAILS.pdf

http://www.digimages.info/bergri/Wag...B32-4_2010.pdf

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Old Monday 20th April 2020, 12:28   #13
Louis_P
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Thanks, I'll give them a read.
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