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Passeriformes > Motacillidae

Western Yellow Wagtail

Motacilla flava

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Identification

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Fairly common to uncommon summer migrant from winter grounds in Africa. Favors wet meadows, marshland, grassy and muddy lakeshores. Occurs in fields and often near livestock during migration. Like other wagtails, walks on ground and pumps its long, white-sided tail up and down. Plumage highly variable, but breeding male wholly bright yellow below, with greenish back. Male head pattern varies regionally: in U.K. has greenish head with yellow eyebrow; in northern Europe head slaty gray overall; in central and southwest Europe head blue-gray with white eyebrow. Female and nonbreeding plumages drabber and paler, with ghosting of male patterns.

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