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Species:

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)

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Length (cm):
18-19
17-17
Wingspan (cm):
25-27
23-27
Weight (gram):
14-22
14-21
Size group:
Sparrow-size
Sparrow-size

Main Texts:

Appearance:

Elegant and very long-tailed wagtail. Vent always bright yellow in all plumages. Legs pinkish flesh-coloured, not black. Wings with single white bar, visible both from below and above. Male with black throat in summer. Constantly wags tail, often in a more horizontal posture than congeners. Flight more attenuated and more bounding than in other wagtails. Attached to water and streams.

Sound:

Contact call short, metallic and with a clipped ending. Often disyllabic, "tzeet-tzeet", with each syllable more separated than in White Wagtail, and timbre more "dirty". Song simple but variable. Often starts with the contact call, followed by short melodic phrases. Sometimes with more elaborate song-flight like White Wagtail.

Contact call, flight call:

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Distribution:

IUCN Redlist Map

Ecology:

Birdlife ecology

Links:

Observation.org Latest observations

Video IBC

Image search Flickr NB! May give other species

Sound search at Xeno-canto

Featherbase

CC

Appearance:

Highly variable with many subspecies in different regions. Upperparts mainly grey and greenish, underparts yellow. Tail quite short compared to other wagtails, and the whole bird in profile is not unlike a pipit. Smallest wagtail in the region. Some birds are very pale below, head markings are very variable, depending on subspecies. Hybrids are not uncommon. Differs from Grey Wagtail in dark legs, only pale yellow vent and narrow wing-bars. Juvenile White Wagtails and Yellow Wagtails can be confused, but White Wagtail is greyer, with big grey breast patch (Yellow Wagtail may show narrow breast band). Closest congener is Citrine Wagtail, which lacks dark lore, has broad wing-bars and grey back.

Sound:

Contact call characteristic and widely used; a sharp, drawn out "pseeeoo" with an accented ending falling in pitch. Song primitive and less striking. A variable phrase with two or three notes resembling the contact call in timbre. Beware differences in calls and songs between different subspecies.

Contact call:

Error loading Flash for sound!
See sound file


Distribution:

IUCN Redlist Map

Ecology:

Birdlife ecology

Links:

Observation.org Latest observations

Video IBC

Image search Flickr NB! May give other species

Sound search at Xeno-canto

Featherbase

CC

Similar species (image):
Similar species (sound):
Silhouette Group:
Wagtail/pipit-like
Silhouette
Wagtail/pipit-like
Silhouette

Several different images of the species

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Several different sounds of the species

Error loading Flash for sound!
See sound file
Error loading Flash for sound!
See sound file
Error loading Flash for sound!
See sound file
Error loading Flash for sound!
See sound file
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