Saturday, 1 August 2009

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

OTHER NAMES: Pied Wagtail, Water Wagtail
Latin Etymology: Motacilla ("wagtail") alba ("white")
Adult White Wagtail (subspecies M. l. yarrelliat Pitsford Reservoir, Northants - December 2014

Local Name (Japan): Haku-sekirei (ハクセキレイ) - "white wagtail"*
Local Name (Spain): Lavandera blanca ("White Laundress")
Featured Subspecies: Motacilla alba yarrellii
Weight: 25g
Length: 16.5-21cm
Wingspan: 25-30cm
UK GREEN LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The White Wagtail, and specifically the subspecies "Pied wagtail" are very common in the UK, and can be found in many environments, though town centers and by the edge of bodies of water tend to be common places to see them. They are present all year round, and can often be found by listening out for their repeating 'peep-peep' call. Generally easy to photograph, they'll frequently let you get very close, and although they aren't quite as tame as pigeons and don't tend to come to food, you shouldn't have any problems getting a decent photo.

Further Information:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Motacillidae
Genus: Motacilla
Subspecies: M. a. alba, M. a. yarrellii, M. a. subpersonata, M. a. persica, M. a. dukhunensis, M. a. personata, M. a. baicalensis, M. a. ocularis

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Abundant breeding resident (470,000 pairs)
 - Seen in virtually every location including Rutland Water,  Rainham MarshesRegent's ParkPitsford ReservoirDitchford Gravel Pits, Eyebrook Reservoir and Geddington.
JAPAN - Abundant resident - one of the most common urban birds.
 - KYOTO 2013 TRIP: A single bird seen in Osaka 
 - TOKYO/HOKKAIDO 2014 TRIP: Seen in Central Tokyo.
SPAIN - A reasonably common resident,
 - MADRID 2016 TRIP: Seen nearEl Pardo

Further Notes: ArkiveBirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

* The Black-backed Wagtail has been split off from this species by some authorities, but other subspecies of White Wagtail are still found in Japan.  However, they still currently share the same name in Japanese to my knowledge.

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