White Wagtail (or Black Backed Wagtail) in Darwin

To: "Andrew Bell" <>, "BIRDING-AUS" <>
Subject: White Wagtail (or Black Backed Wagtail) in Darwin
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 07:32:24 +1100
Darryel Binns forwarded your photos to me and others. Your bird is of the White Wagtail Motacilla alba complex. Because it has a dark line through the eye it is either lugens or ocularis. By the large amount of white in the wing it is lugens. There is much controversy as to whether this is a full species. If it was, we'd call it a Black-backed Wagtail but currently many/most authorities including those in Australia lump this with White Wagtail. I think this could be the first of this taxon for the NT. All previous records have been from the eastern states, Queensland (e.g. Fraser Is), NSW (Newcastle) & Victoria (Lakes Entrance). All or most records of ocularis are from WA or Christmas Island.

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
Tel  (03) 9787 7136

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