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Wagtail ID Yellow or Yellow Headed (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Yellow Wagtail or Yellow Headed Wagtail

The 2 wagtails in the photos were shot at Bishop Middleham in County Durham England - the 1st is a normal Yellow Wagtail - but the 2nd shows enough differences to be something else - perhaps a Yellow Headed Wagtail - note the more lemon colour - lack of markings on the head and the 2 wing bars. The normal yellow wagtails were also chasing this bird off. Can anyone through any light on it please


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James Spencer
They both look like variation within flavissima to me. Lutea would look cleaner but phenotypically more extreme flavissima can be identical to lutea. I'd guess DNA and a sonogram would be needed to get anyone to consider lutea


Well-known member
Disturbingly difficult to separate lutea & flavissima since variation is quite marked.
The idetification problems concerning males of flavissima/lutea is not to be taken lightly.
The question is - can the two be safely separated? They can´t, however, on location. The all yellow headed type is common in lutea, most uncommon in flavissima. Birds with yellow forehead and mostly yellow ear coverts are common among lutea and less common in flavissima and birds with all greenish crown including the forehead with a well defined yellow supercilium darrk lore is common in flavissima and uncommon in lutea.


One character that has been mentioned for lutea is broad yellowish tipps to median and greater coverts, such as seen in the russian birds linked by Marc.
Note typical flavissima characters (lutea can look similar!) but with whitish narrow tips to median coverts, but of course depending on wear and such.


Note in the lutea below the allmost all yellow head and broad yellowish tips to median and greater coverts:


and here Israel April:


Also this one from Nick,s site showing characters well within the variation of flavissima/lutea.


Iran April (Björn Johansson)



http://www.birdersplayground.co.uk/Passerines 1.2.html#Yellow Wagtail


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