ranon.2011's picture

Bird - White or Pied wagtail

Observed: 16th October 2012 By: ranon.2011ranon.2011’s reputation in Birdsranon.2011’s reputation in Birdsranon.2011’s reputation in Birdsranon.2011’s reputation in Birdsranon.2011’s reputation in Birds
16.10.2012 Bird - Pied wagtail (2)
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba subsp. yarrellii) interacts


ranon.2011's picture

Now Chris, both of my books

Now Chris, both of my books (Collins and RSPB)call this bird white or pied and I was trying to be politically correct. Robert

chrisbrooks's picture


Hi Robert, sorry that was a difficult one. Pied / White is one I have got wrong several times. I have gone for Pied for my reasons outlined, see notes, the White is much paler but there are occasions when it is in doubt and your ID would be acceptable. I think I'm correct but let's see what others think. Regards Chris.

RoyW's picture

White Wagtail is correct! ;o)

In this case the initial identification of White/Pied Wagtail is correct, and it would also have been correct to have called the bird: "White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)".
Although most UK based birdwatchers tend to mean the continental race when they say they have seen a "White Wagtail", the name can be used for any of the subspecies, including Pied Wagtail.

The revised identification is of course also correct, and makes the identification more precise, identifying the subspecies, not just the species.

ophrys's picture


Definitely Pied, for the reasons Chris gives. The black mantle is the clincher, as White is never black there. The rump can be difficult, as White is often very dark on the rump, too. The boundary between rump and back is often difficult to be sure of, too, and I think some people imagine the rump stretching well up the back, which it does not do!

When you find one with the mantle and back grey, it all gets more complicated.


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