Yellow Wagtail ID

To: "" <>
Subject: Yellow Wagtail ID
From: "Jansen, Justin" <>
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 14:36:04 +0100

G'day all,
Over here in the Netherlands most off the wagtail subspecies turned into species (Sangster, G, Hazevoet, C J, van den Berg, A B & Roselaar, C S 1997. Dutch avifaunal list: taxonomic changes in 1977-97. Dutch Birding 19: 21-28. and Sangster, G, Hazevoet, C J, van den Berg, A B & Roselaar, C S 1998. Dutch avifaunal list: species concepts, taxonomic instability, and taxonomic changes in 1998. Dutch Birding 20: 22-32. ) and in some countries is this species concept accepted now. Also in Britain the AERC's TAC and The BOURC's TSC are looking to the status of the wagtail complex. So maybe in the near future international things will chance.

Also forthcomming now is the Per Alstrom book of Pipits and Larks via Helm very soon, and this book gives an good idea (but no taxonomic solution) about all the different ssp of this group.

Ik know that ID of the different subspecies of wagtails is a problem in winterplumage, but until jet I seen not many records what ssp are involved in Australia. The ssp that can be found in Australia are the Green-backed Wagtail ssp taivana, Blue-headed Wagtail ssp simillima and the Grey-headed wagtail ssp macronyx.

Birds are not easy to separate: Green-backed Wagtail has olive-green head with yellow-eyebrow and broad dark eyestripe (adult)

                                  Blue-headed Wagtail has a blue-gray head with white eyebrow and richer yellow underparts (adult)

                                  Grey-headed Wagtail has deep grey head, blackish around the eye, and no obious eyebrow (adult)

In winter plumage and females are a bit duller in plumage. First year and juvenile birds are very hard to identify.

I personaly think that the ssp taivana is the most common in Australia. I saw at last an bird at Middle Arm (Darwin) in november with taivana features.

It's maybe fun in the near future when you find a Yellow Wagtail to bring the ID to ssp level.

Cheers, Justin Jansen, The Netherlands

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