Saturday, 18 September 2010

Western Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)

OTHER NAMES: Yellow Wagtail
Latin Etymology: Motacilla ("wagtail") flava ("golden yellow")
 Adult Western Yellow Wagtail (subspecies M. f. flavissima) at Nene Washes, Cambridgeshire - April 2012

Featured Subspecies: Motacilla flava flavissima
Weight: 16-22g  /  Length: 23-27cm  /  Wingspan: 23-27cm
UK RED LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The least common of the UK's three Wagtails, the Yellow Wagtail can prove a little elusive to see as it has more specific habitat requirements. I've personally had luck around September by lakes and reservoirs but their favourite habitat is cow fields by water where the cows churn up the ground to give the wagtails places to feed. Photographing them is marginally more difficult than the other two wagtails once you actually find them, as they are not quite so urbanised, but they still allow fairly close approach compared to most species.  The other unusual feature of the Yellow Wagtail is that of all the UK species, it has the most variation between the subspecies, with some of the many subspecies found across it's range looking like entirely different birds to one another.

Related Species:
Order:  Passeriformes
Family: Motacillidae
Genus: Motacilla
Subspecies: M.f. flava, M.f. flavissima, M.f. beema, M.f. leucocephala, M.f. cinereocapilla, M.f. iberiae, M.f. pygmaea, M.f. thunbergi, M.f. feldegg, M.f. melanogrisea, M.f. lutea  

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Local Summer breeding migrant (15,000 territories)

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipediaXeno-canto

1 comment:

  1. Seems like you're having a purple patch at the mo Alex. what next? Purple Sand?

    Keep up the good work