Yellow Wagtail at WTP (Victoria)

To: "'Tony Russell'" <>, "'Birding Aus'" <>
Subject: Yellow Wagtail at WTP (Victoria)
From: "Paul Dodd" <>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2009 12:14:25 +1100

I made the original identification based on the pictures and description in
Pizzey & Knight (Seventh Edition).

Specifically -

Race simillima: crown blue-grey; eyebrow whitish; ear-coverts dark
blue-grey; back/rump olive-green.

Race tschutschensis: crown blue-grey; eyebrow whitish; back/rump greyish
olive; ear-coverts dark grey-brown; throat white; some have speckled
brownish necklace.

In addition, the photographs most closely resemble the picture of
tschutschensis that edition.

Since then I have compared with Robson, "Birds of South-east Asia"
(simillima only); MacKinnon, Phillipps, "A Field Guide to the Birds of
Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali" (simillima only); Viney, Phillipps, Lam
Chiu, "Birds of Hong Kong and South China" (simillima only); and most
significantly, Dunn and Alderfer (eds), "National Geographic Field Guide to
the Birds of North America" (fifth edition) - which has simillima and
tschutschensis described and illustrated.

The significant points of identification used were:

White supercilium - common to simillima and tschutschensis, hence ruling out
other races.

White throat - almost non-existent in breeding simillima, but present in
tschutschensis. Non-breeding simillima has a much paler breast. But an
argument could be made that this bird is in partial breeding plumage.

Speckled necklace - clearly visible in the photos of this bird. The necklace
is only visible in tschutschensis.

The main thing against this being tschutschensis is that simillima is the
"Asian sub-species" and as such is far more likely in Australia than the
other races.

Since this is my first attempt at identifying a rarity to this degree I
expect criticism of my methods above. Additionally, others are probably far
more experienced with this species that I am.

For now I'm calling it tschutschensis, although I know that others are
referring to it as simillima/tschutschensis.

Paul Dodd
Docklands, Victoria

-----Original Message-----
From: Tony Russell  
Sent: Sunday, 22 February 2009 11:22 AM
To: 'Paul Dodd'; 'Birding Aus'
Subject: Yellow Wagtail at WTP (Victoria)

Who, if anyone, has positively identified this as a tschutschensis and
not a simillima  ?


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Paul Dodd
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2009 8:14 PM
To: 'Birding Aus'
Subject: Yellow Wagtail at WTP (Victoria)

Hi everyone,


Photos of the Yellow Wagtail (race tschutschensis) seen by Peter Shute,
Ruth Woodrow and myself are available at:


Ruth's photos -


My photos -


And as Peter has already posted:


Peter's photos -


Please note that these photos have been uploaded straight from the
camera to Flickr (in Ruth's and my cases) or Picasa (in Peter's case).
No attempt has been made to remove blurred, out-of-focus or other poor
shots at this stage, and no attempt has been made to process the images.


Paul Dodd

Docklands, Victoria



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