British records of 'Eastern Yellow Wagtail'

Martin Collinson*, Aaron Smith, Steve Waite, Bob McGowan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


An eastern subspecies of Yellow Wagtail, Motadlla flava simillima, was added to the British List on the basis of two specimens collected on Fair Isle in 1909 and 1912. No further records have been accepted, in spite of the regular occurrence of 'grey-and-white' first-winter Yellow Wagtails in Britain in autumn, which have been suspected to be of eastern origin. This short paper reports a genetic analysis of the two accepted specimens and also a recent record of a putative 'eastern'Yellow Wagtail trapped at Colyton, Devon, in December 2010. The 1912 Fair Isle bird was shown to be of western origin and is probably a 'British' Yellow Wagtail M. f. flavissima. In contrast, the 1909 Fair Isle and 2010 Devon birds were shown to be of eastern origin. The systematics of Yellow Wagtails are currently in flux, with no universally accepted treatment, but the specific or subspecific identities of the 1909 and 2010 birds are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-41
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Birds
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2013


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