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'Yellow(ish) wagtail' in the Netherlands

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  • 'Yellow(ish) wagtail' in the Netherlands

    Hi all,
    There is a pic on the European rarity gallery captioned as a 'yellow(ish) wagtail', taken in the Netherlands by Steven Wytema: is it just me, or does the head pattern strongly suggest 1st-w Citrine Wagtail?
    Regards,
    Harry

  • #2
    Link to pic: http://www.surfbirds.com/media/galle...0923095109.jpg

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    • #3
      In my vast experience of exactly zero Citrine Wagtails, I would suggest that Harry's right and it's not 'just him'! It would look as if the head pattern closely resembles Citrine - it's a pity that there aren't some profile shots to make this easier to judge,

      John

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Harry Hussey View Post
        Hi all,
        There is a pic on the European rarity gallery captioned as a 'yellow(ish) wagtail', taken in the Netherlands by Steven Wytema: is it just me, or does the head pattern strongly suggest 1st-w Citrine Wagtail?
        Regards,
        Harry
        Hello Harry!

        Compare the Yellowish Wagtail to these Citrines below:

        http://www.birdpix.nl/album_page.php?pic_id=143152

        http://www.netfugl.dk/pictures.php?i...cture_id=13223

        ...and note the pale lores, wider white wingbars on both median and greater coverts. Further more - the dark eye-brow above the supercilium is quite obvious in Citrine. The subject bird shows pale interiors on the ear-coverts and the pattern matches some Citrines as well as the width of the pale surrounding behind the earcoverts. The seemingly all dark lower base to the bill confuse a bit since Yellow Wagtail shows a pale base. Rear supercilium is whiter in Citrin.

        JanJ

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        • #5
          I agree with Jan's points and would add that it appears to have a yellowish vent - definitely a pro-flava feature. The lores can exceptionally be dark on Citrine - one at Beddington in Surrey (UK), showed this, but then on that bird everything else on it looked good for Citrine - this one doesn't. A few flava do show a pale surround to the ear-coverts - this looks like one of those to me.

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          • #6
            Hi all,
            Well, for the record, I concede that the bird does look a bit odd for a 1st-w Citrine, but I really am struggling to make out any yellow tones to the vent, at least on my monitor, and, as for the brownish cast to the upperparts, I have seen undoubted 'grey and white' autumn Citrines suddenly appear slightly brown-toned when the ambient light changed.
            That said, I am not necessarily saying that it is an odd Citrine, but nor would I be happy calling it as a Yellow Wagtail due to the head pattern (Roy, I was under the impression that a 'wrap-around' supercilium was a safe way of seperating autumn Citrine Wagtails from 'grey and white' autumn Yellow Wagtails, but your post suggests that this information is out of date), and, loath though I usually am to resort to the 'h' word, I can't help but wonder if a 1st-w Citrine x Yellow (taxon unknown) could look like this bird? Mixed pairings have been recorded between these species before, of course...
            Regards,
            Harry

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            • #7
              Hello again,
              Further to earlier postings, I have been alerted to the following image in the Oriental Bird Club image database, taken in India in late September, of a 'grey and white' Yellow Wagtail with an apparent pale surround to the ear coverts
              http://orientalbirdimages.org/search...amily_ID=&p=30.
              It must be said, however, that the Indian bird is a lot more clear-cut a Yellow Wagtail than the Dutch bird in question...despite a faint surround to the ear coverts, the head pattern never really suggests Citrine, as that of the mystery bird does, at least on first impressions until the darker lores are seen, and the base of the lower mandible of the Indian bird is clearly pale. Also, the greater covert wingbar is much more worn and narrower on the Indian bird, though this may not be of major significance when said wear is taken into consideration.
              I shall concede that variation within the 'yellow wagtail' complex is poorly known, and, despite my gut feeling of there being Citrine genes involved at some level, perhaps the Dutch bird is a pure Yellow Wagtail, but I still find it difficult to state this with certainty based solely on the one available image and the one sound recording (eastern taxa of Yellow Wagtail sound a lot like Citrine anyway, so they could be hard to seperate by ear...will have to dig out 'Pipits and Wagtails' tomorrow and compare the sonogram to those published in that). Maybe that's just due to my limited experience with any of these taxa (Yellow Wagtails are scarce here, and the vast majority of those that I have seen abroad have been spring birds, and I have just seen 4 1st-w Citrines), I don't know, but this bird does seem very interesting, at least to my eyes...
              Regards,
              Harry

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              • #8
                Hi Harry,

                On reflection you are correct about this bird - it is interesting. I have checked Pipits & Wagtails and it does state that the supercilium never surrounds the ear-coverts in Yellow Wag. I felt sure that I had seen photos of immature Yellow Wags with pale ear-covert surround, but since I can't find them that is of little consequence and might be due to my faulty memory. Also the dark loral stripe, as I mentioned earlier is shown by Citrine on occasion so doesn't count as a plus one way or the other. I have checked the vent again and you are also correct on that point - I can't confirm that the vent is yellow - it merely looks darker. The narrowish wing-bars also seem to be within the variation shown by Citrine and the forehead and supercilium look good - with a slight niggle about the apparent staining on the supercilium behind the eye.

                On balance it looks more like Citrine than Yellow - that will teach me to look at these pics in proper light and on a clean screen.

                Roy

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