A blog mainly about birds and birding, to supplement my website I shall add new posts on an ad hoc basis as and when I have something I think is worth sharing, whether that’s an interesting bird, something I’ve learned, perhaps about identification, or something that’s aroused my curiosity. Often there will be questions, some of which you might be able to answer... please use the comments!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Confusing Yellow Wagtails - part 2

One enjoyable moment hunting for migrants in Sicily was finding a mixed flock of 10 flava Wagtails in a dried out pool at Capo Murro di Porco.  It contained Blue-headed Wagtails, Grey-headed Wagtails, a Black-headed Wagtail (nice call) and another curious bird, the point of this post.

Before I get on to the bird in question, let me wallow in some Grey-headed loveliness:

Grey-headed Wagtail, Capo Murro di Porco, 4th May 2012

I didn't manage to get such a good shot of the Black-headed, but it was such a gorgeous bird I can't resist sharing it:

Black-headed Wagtail, Capo Murro di Porco, 4th May 2012

And now, the bird I'm really writing about.  This was a really striking bird!  A lovely dark slaty-grey head, really dark at the front (fore-crown, lores and front of ear-coverts) but paler, almost bluey grey at the rear.  A vivid white supercilium and white lower eye-crescent, but no white in the middle of the ear-coverts.  The throat was clearly yellow but the chin was white, with white extending slightly down the moustaches.  Here it is:

flava Wagtail, Capo Murro di Porco, 4th May

So what is it?  Yellow throat should rule out the cinereocapilla/iberiae complex  I thought it might be a Romanian 'dombrowski'-type intergrade?  What do you think?


  1. Thanks for linking this. It could be the same bird as the one here yesterday! The call seems to clinch separation from the more eastern Yellow Wags. Nice one

  2. Yes; I didn't definitely hear mine call but I did hear a lot of calls from the flock and the only calls that stood out as being different were definitely coming from the Black-headed Wagtail, not this bird.

    So far the feedback is supporting the idea that they're 'dombrowski'-like intergrades/hybrids.

    A very cool find in Wales anyway!