Eastern Yellow Wagtail or?

Yellow-browed Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler on the door step

Today I went out for an hour. On my door step a Yellow-browed Warbler greeted me.

Then I took the 5 minute drive to Viðareiði. Lots of common warblers in the garden, but nothing exceptional except the numbers.

Then I checked the area “Eysturi á Heygum”. First I found a Tree Sparrow there. It is rare in the Faroes!

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

Then I checked the grass fields in the area. They have previously contained 2 Pec Sands, 2 Buff-breasted Sands, Semi-Pal Sand, Arctic and Lesser Redpoll, 2 Citrine Wags and much more.

When I came there were hundreds and hundreds of pipits and soon I found a black-and-white wagtail, that was not a White. My initial though was Citrine, but after getting a bit better views the head pattern was way off. It only showed an eye stripe and not a cit-wag cheek pattern.

Presumed Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Presumed Eastern Yellow Wagtail

The bird called a few times with a call almost identical to Cit Wag.

Presumed Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Presumed Eastern Yellow Wagtail

I called Rolf Christensen in Denmark to get his opinion. He concluded by saying: Get some photos!

Presumed Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Presumed Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Presumed Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Presumed Eastern Yellow Wagtail

I then got better views of the bird and heard it several times. The call was a bit softer and less explosive than typical Cit Wags, but still very close.

But appearance was somewhat different. It seemed less bulky, wing-bars a bit smaller and it was generally less contrasting than typical Cit Wags. And the belly and breast of 1 cy Cit Wags often has a creamy buff tone to it. This one was just greyish-white.

Presumed Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Presumed Eastern Yellow Wagtail

So I feel confident that this is an Eastern Yellow Wagtail or some sick hybrid rather than a Cit Wag. Maybe I can get sound recordings tomorrow?

This being said there are people out there, who know much more about the wagtails, so comments are welcome.

Lesser Whitethroat

Lesser Whitethroat

Lesser Whitethroat

Lesser Whitethroat

Silas

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3 comments on “Eastern Yellow Wagtail or?

  1. scwytema says:

    Silas! Have you ever thought of that the lesser whitethroat at the bottom of the page could very well be a Siberian Lesser Whitethroat? It has quite some white on the outer tail feathers and if onlt we could see P2…

    • birdingfaroes says:

      Yes, that was my reason for sharing. But that being said eastern looking Lesser Whitethroats are regular up here. But unless there is DNA evidence they cannot be identified for sure is what I’ve been told. So I’ve kind of stopped using time with them.

  2. With regards to the grey-and-white wagtail, photos and sound-recordings are fine but what is needed is a genetic approach. The most commonly used word in the Yellow Wagtail taxonomy literature is “however”.

    To my knowledge, the only accepted records in Europe is DNA analysed birds from Britain (Fair Isle 1909 and Devon 2010). Even these are not assigned to a particular subspecies, only the eastern group of subspecies.

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