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Motacilla flava dombrowskii (1 Viewer)

crs

Well-known member
I have photographed a yellow wagtail near Brasov - Romania.
Collins Bird Guide 2nd Edition, 2009, pg 271 indicates the race "dombrowskii" (Romania). In the Opus (encyclopedia) it is mentioned:
"A couple of other forms are sometimes given names that look similar to subspecies but without formal recognition as such. These include "dombrowski" and "superciliaris".

Could you please tell me if "dombrowskii" is a race of Motacilla flava or not.

Thank you,
Cristian
 

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Richard Klim

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Motacilla flava dombrowskii Tschusi, 1903 (Romania).

Alström & Mild 2003 (Pipits & Wagtails)...
Birds looking like male flava [= 'Blue-headed Wagtail'] except for blackish ear-coverts (varying from pure black to dark grey) and slightly darker crown and nape are often named 'dombrowskii', but we consider them to reflect interbreeding between feldegg [= 'Black-headed Wagtail'] and flava. It is often suggested in the literature that 'dombrowskii' could also be an intergrade between flava and thunbergi [= 'Grey-headed Wagtail'], but we have not seen any such birds showing a distinct white supercilium and blackish ear-coverts from the areas where flava and thunbergi intergrade. Both 'superciliaris' and 'dombrowskii' are rather frequent during spring migration in (e.g.) East Africa and the Middle East. Today, most authors agree that 'superciliaris', 'xanthophrys' and 'dombrowskii' are intergrades, as no area is known in which the majority of the population match any of these forms, and the majority of breeding records of 'superciliaris' and 'dombrowskii' come from the wide zone of intergradation between feldegg and flava. Intergrades between feldegg and flava are highly variable in the colour of the crown, and many birds are intermediate and difficult to place in either 'superciliaris' or 'dombrowskii'.
 
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crs

Well-known member
Thank you Richard for the answer. I understand that for the time being there is not a definitive answer to the question.

Best regards,
Cristian
 

Richard Klim

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Thank you Richard for the answer. I understand that for the time being there is not a definitive answer to the question.
Well, Cristian, it's quite definitive. 'Dombrowskii' is definitely a form of Motacilla flava, but it represents an intergrade between recognised valid subspecies.
 
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crs

Well-known member
It is clear for me now. But could you please tell me if, in this case, is it meaningful to mention "dombrowskii" when presenting the photo of a bird like that one I photographed?

Cristian
 

Richard Klim

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Yes, Cristian. I think it's perfectly acceptable to use the name Motacilla flava 'dombrowskii'. The use of quotes emphasises that it's not a typical example of one of the usually recognised subspecies. But it's certainly a more interesting form than either M. f. feldegg or M. f. flava!

PS. I'm no ID expert, but actually your bird perhaps looks more like 'superciliaris'. Alström & Mild...
Birds looking (more or less) like a male feldegg with a narrow white supercilium are often named 'superciliaris', but we consider this name to refer to an intergrade originating from the wide zone of overlap between feldegg and notably flava (probably also between feldegg and cinereocapilla and feldegg and beema).
 
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crs

Well-known member
The reason I presumed it is "dombrowskii" is that I made the photo in Brasov which is, more or less, in the center of Romania. In Collins Bird Guide "dombrowskii" is mentioned as living in Romania while "superciliaris" in SE Russia.
May be it would make sense to post the photo in the ID section of the forum.
 

Richard Klim

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In Collins Bird Guide "dombrowskii" is mentioned as living in Romania while "superciliaris" in SE Russia.
Perhaps it should be 'SW Russia'. SE Russia is in East Asia.

(Superciliaris Brehm, 1854 was decribed from 'near Khartoum'.)
 
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crs

Well-known member
You are right Richard. In Collins Bird Guide 2nd Edition, 2009, pg. 271 it is written " 'superciliaris' (SE Russia)". This must be a print error.

Cristian
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Ranges of subspecies and other forms are often not very certain. It is bad enough with ranges of full species!

In addition, could your bird be migrating?

Niels
 

MJB

Well-known member
You are right Richard. In Collins Bird Guide 2nd Edition, 2009, pg. 271 it is written " 'superciliaris' (SE Russia)". This must be a print error. Cristian

Cristian,
It makes sense if they meant southeast European Russia; most ordinary UK people think of Russia that way - they're not strong on geography, even of the UK!
MJB
 

Richard Klim

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It makes sense if they meant southeast European Russia
Mike, I'd wondered about that. Actually, the core range of an intergrade between feldegg and flava, and probably also beema, could be SE (Southern European) Russia. ;)

But as Alström & Mild suggest, and also Lou Salomon on the ID Q&A forum, 'superciliaris' is perhaps better regarded as a phenotype that can occur in various quite widespread intergrades, rather than a 'race' associated with a particular localised intergrade zone.
 

crs

Well-known member
Thank you all for the answers.

I understand that "dombrowskii"amd "supercilium" are not subspecies of Motacilla flava. It seems it is not easy to say what "dombrowskii" or "supecilium" are in this moment neither where these birds can be found.

Could anybody tell me who first defined the "dombrowskii" intergrade and on what was based this definiton?

Cristian
 

Richard Klim

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Could anybody tell me who first defined the "dombrowskii" intergrade and on what was based this definiton?
Cristian, as I noted in post #2, dombrowskii was described from Romania by Tschusi (1903).

John Penhallurick (World Bird Info) cites "Tchusi zu Schmidhoffen, 1903, Ornithologisches Jahrbuch, 16, p.161".

Mayr & Greenway 1960 (Peters) cites "Tschusi, 1903, Orn. Jahrb., 14, p. 161".

Perhaps someone can find the original description online somewhere...
 
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dantheman

Bah humbug
Not that I examined it that closely, but a bird I saw in Donetsk (E Ukraine) the other week was more 'dombrowski' than 'superciliaris' imo. And a Blue-headed Wagtail in Warsaw (Poland) was a bit darker headed than I was expecting... Both presumably breeders.

I'm sure this doesn't help ;)
 
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