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Motacilla flava flavissima ID in autumn/Opus clarification? (1 Viewer)

Hauksen

Forum member
Hi everyone,

I just observed a Motacilla flava ssp. on Germany's North Sea coast which to my untrained eye looked like a perfect example of a M. f. flavissima male in breeding plumage.

I was told (by the very friendly local ornitho.de expert) that in autumn, it's very difficult to reliably determine the subspecies of males due to moult effects.

This is also alluded to in Opus at Western Yellow Wagtail - BirdForum Opus ...

The main differences between the various races are described in the Taxonomy section. These differences are obvious in spring males, while autumn males, females, and juveniles can be very difficult or impossible to assign to subspecies.
Now I wonder - what exactly does this mean? My books only seem to show fully developed breeding vs. winter plumage, and the single photograph in Opus showing spring plumage shows a bird with very irregular plumage, quite unlike the one I have seen.

If you're aware of any photographs showing the autumn moult, I'd be very interested :)

Regards,

Henning
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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