Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Eastern Yellow Wagtail
Motacilla tschutschensis
(Viewing 4 of 5 photos)

Yellow Wagtails are migrants from the Northern Hemisphere to Australia. There are few sightings in southern Australia although in recent years, the wetlands of the Hunter River estuary in NSW have proved to be a reliable area to see them. In the north they are regularly seen in the summer months, especially around Broome and Darwin. Wagtails (family Motacillidae, nothing to do with our Willie Wagtail) are quite widespread in the Northern Hemisphere - their nearest relatives here in Australia are the pipits. The Genus Motacilla contains a diverse and complex group of birds and the arrangement of species and subspecies is the subject of much discussion. Up to five or so different forms have been recorded in our area and except for the Yellow Wagtail, they are mainly vagrants. The bird in this picture was photographed by my wife Pam out of the car window - as soon as we got out, it disappeared up along the beach not to be seen again. It is probably a young bird and certainly of the Yellow Wagtail group, but to which actual species/subspecies it belongs is not possible to tell from the photographs. For a detailed presentation of wagtails and their occurrence in Australia, including two excellent colour plates, refer to HANZAB Vol 7B from page 1401 onwards.

Photo: 877201

877201 ... Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Bluff Hill Point, western Tasmania, 30 Oct 2008.

Photo: 877202-D

877202-D ... Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Bluff Hill Point, western Tasmania, 30 Oct 2008

Photo: 877203-D

877203-D ... Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Photo: 877204-D

877204-D ... Beachwashed kelp at Bluff Hill Point, NW Tasmania, site of first Tasmanian record of a Yellow Wagtail on 30/10/2008.

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