ar8922's picture

Pied or White Wagtail?

Observed: 20th January 2013 By: ar8922
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
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Description:

To my untrained eye, some of this bird's markings would suggest it's a White Wagtail but I suspect a Pied Wagtail in winter plumage (possibly first-winter), is more likely. Can anyone confirm definitively?
Sadly, it also appears to have a damaged or deformed right foot.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

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

Comments

JonathanWallace's picture

I think the strong black

I think the strong black crown rules out first winter birds of either race and suggests an adult winter yarellii. I think in winter plumage alba the face is also not so pure white as in yarellii making a less striking contrast with the black on the crown which again suggests your bird is yarellii.

Jonathan Wallace

ar8922's picture

Thanks Jonathan

That's really helpful and useful to know.

Isavar's picture

A tricky one, maybe this helps

Well, it is a tricky one.

Whilst it is true it might appear like a subsp. alba due to light grey on back and wing coverts, facial pattern not clear... distribution tells you to immediately check closer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MotacillaAlbaDistribution.svg

However, distribution should not be 100% trusted for bird ID.

Now, if you look at a juvenile of both subsp. even then, yarrellii shows grey on flanks whilst alba doesn´t

This makes me think that it is indeed Motacilla alba subsp. yarrelli as those coverts will go darker with age but the flanks are distinctive even when the bird is a young one.

I hope this helps!

Isabel

ar8922's picture

Thanks Isabel

Yes, that certainly helps... all great information and gratefully received. I was indeed leaning towards a young yarrellii, which is why I suggested a possible 'first-winter'.

Isavar's picture

A tricky one, maybe this helps

Well, it is a tricky one.

Whilst it is true it might appear like a subsp. alba due to light grey on back and wing coverts, facial pattern not clear... distribution tells you to immediately check closer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MotacillaAlbaDistribution.svg

However, distribution should not be 100% trusted for bird ID.

Now, if you look at a juvenile of both subsp. even then, yarrellii shows grey on flanks whilst alba doesn´t

This makes me think that it is indeed Motacilla alba subsp. yarrelli as those coverts will go darker with age but the flanks are distinctive even when the bird is a young one.

I hope this helps!

Isabel