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24

Western Yellow Wagtail

(Motacilla flava)
Alternate name(s): "Yellow Wagtail" (many others for individual races)
German name(s): "Schafstelze"

Size: 15-16 cm

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Western Yellow Wagtail at Wikipedia .

Click here for classification information

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "flava"

This race is also called the "Blue-headed Wagtail".

ADULT

MALE

Near-frontal view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Biebrza NP, Poland, May 2017]

Near-lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, September 2015]

Nar-lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, October 2015]

Lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, October 2015]

Lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, September 2015]

Lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of A. Sarok)
[5 km North of Temerin, Serbia, June 2014]

Lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of K. Paunovic)
[Near Novi Sad, Serbia, April 2015]

Dorsal view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Biebrza NP, Poland, May 2016]

Dorsal view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail in a meadow (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Biebrza NP, Poland, May 2016]

FEMALE

Near-frontal view of a female Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug Landscape Park, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, July 2015]

Near-frontal view of a female Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug Landscape Park, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, July 2015]

Lateral view of a female Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug Landscape Park, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, July 2015]

Lateral view of a moulting female Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Malinowo, Masovia, Poland, September 2016]

Lateral view of a female Western Yellow Wagtail and a Common Sandpiper (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Malkinia, Masovia, Poland, August 2019]

Near-dorsal view of a moulting female Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Malinowo, Masovia, Poland, September 2016]

Dorsal view of a moulting female Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Malinowo, Masovia, Poland, September 2016]

Sex unknown

Lateral view of two moulting Western Yellow Wagtails (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Malkinia, Masovia, Poland, July 2019]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a moulting female Western Yellow Wagtail, back, with a dependent juvenile, front
(photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Malinowo, Masovia, Poland, September 2016]

An immature Western Yellow Wagtail was also photographed by us in Oman.

Lateral view of a female Western Yellow Wagtail with a fledgling (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, July 2017]

Race "feldegg"

This race is also called the "Black-headed Wagtail".

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[June 2018]

Frontal view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[June 2018]

Near-frontal view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[June 2018]

Near-lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail issuing its call (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[June 2018]

Lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[June 2018]

Lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[June 2018]

FEMALE

Lateral view of a female Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[June 2018]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of a juvenile Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[June 2018]

Near-dorsal view of a juvenile Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[June 2018]

Race "thunbergi"

This race is also called the "Dark-headed Wagtail" or "Grey-headed Wagtail".

ADULT

MALE

Near-frontal view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Near Oslo airport, Oslo, Norway, June 2018]

Race "iberiae"

This race is also called the "Iberian Yellow Wagtail".

ADULT

MALE

BREEDING

Near-lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, March 2019]

Near-lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, March 2019]

Lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail issuing its call (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, March 2019]

Lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail; this is the bird whose "various" calls were recorded on 16 March 2020
(photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, March 2020]

Lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail; this is the bird whose "contact" call was recorded on 16 March 2020
(photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, March 2020]

Near-dorsal view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail; this is the bird whose "contact" call was recorded on 16 March 2020
(photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, March 2020]

FEMALE

Near-frontal view of a female Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, September 2019]

Near-lateral view of a female Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, September 2019]

Near-lateral view of a female Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, September 2019]

Lateral view of a female Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, August 2019]

Lateral view of a female Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, September 2019]

Near-dorsal view of a female Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, September 2019]

NON-BREEDING

Sex unknown

Lateral view of a Western Yellow Wagtail in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, October 2019]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a moulting juvenile Western Yellow Wagtail with its prey (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, July 2019]

Lateral view of a moulting juvenile Western Yellow Wagtail in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, July 2019]

Near-lateral view of a juvenile Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, August 2019]

Near-lateral view of a juvenile Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, August 2019]

Near-lateral view of a juvenile Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, August 2019]

Female Western Yellow Wagtail with a dependent juvenile (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, August 2019]

Race "flavissima"

This race is also called the "Yellow-crowned Wagtail".

ADULT

MALE

BREEDING

Lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, September 2019]

Lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail in mellow light (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, October 2018]

Lateral view of a male Western Yellow Wagtail in mellow light (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Near Mora, Evora, Portugal, October 2018]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial? Mobility: Sedentary/migratory Elementary unit: Pair/family clan

As all wagtails of the Motacilla genus, Western Yellow Wagtails constantly wag their tails in an up and down motion.

Food, Diet

Like all Motacilla wagtails known to us, Western Yellow Wagtails are insectivores.

Near-frontal view of a female Western Yellow Wagtail with its prey, a flying insect (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug Landscape Park, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, July 2015]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

yelwagt_dw_20200604.m4a flava
(Poland)
Contact calls? © DW
 
yelwagt_jp_20200316.m4a iberiae
(SW Portugal)
Contact call? (male) © JP
yelwagt_jp_20200316_2.m4a iberiae
(SW Portugal)
Various (male) © JP

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