I'm not sure whether your version of S&D shows the non-breeding plumage of the
white wagtail. Pizzy and Knight [p487] does, and your description looks more
like Motacilla alba [White Wagtail] which has the dark patch below the eye. P&K
also shows that the brestband is incomplete - ie doesn't reach the shoulders and
that it has been recorded more often in Oz than M lugens.
Hopefully you will get another good look at this interesting bird.
Alan Gillanders wrote:
> Hello All,
> Today (28/12) I saw a pied Wagtail at Kairi on the Atherton Tableland. =
> It was on the eastern edge of the town across a corner from the cricket =
> ground. It flew as I drove up, circled around, landed briefly and flew =
> off into a nearby paddock. by the time I had gained permission to enter =
> the paddock the bird had moved on. Here is a transcription of my notes:-
> Face white with dark patch below eye, narrow black band on breast, crown =
> & tail black, back light grey-brown, belly pale
> - off white.
> On returning home and consulting Simpson & Day as well as Slater I feel =
> that it was most likely Motacilla lugens. From memory rather than notes =
> I think that the forehead was white and that the 'patch below the eye' =
> did not join to the neck colour. I did not notice any white on the tail =
> but my first thought as the bird left the roadway was of a strange =
> The farmer and one of his hands is keeping a look out for me and I will =
> return in the next few days and let you know of any success.
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