Distinctive, brightly colored wagtail. Adult male is nearly unmistakable with a brilliant yellow head, dark eye on a plain face, thin dark bill and black across the nape that frames the face. Crown, back, and rump are medium to dark gray. Folded wings show dark gray coverts with two broad white wingbars and blackish flight feathers that have fairly broad white edges on secondaries and tertials. Breast and belly are yellow; brightest towards the breast and throat and faded on the lower belly. Undertail coverts are white, tail is blackish with white outer tail feathers. Adult female: Similar to male, except much paler overall. Pale yellow face with hollow brown auriculars and brownish cap and nape. Supercilium extends into crescent that wraps around behind the auriculars. Pale yellowish underparts. Upper parts similar to male, but paler. Non-breeding male: Similar to adult female. First year: Similar to adult female, but paler overall with gray upperparts and with replacing yellow on the underparts. Best told from very similar Eastern Yellow Wagtail by the extension of the supercilium, which wraps into a crescent behind the auriculars.
Length: 17 (cm) Wingspan: 26 (cm)
Open areas within close proximity to water including wet meadows, bogs and lakeshores.
Wags tail while foraging, possibly to scare up prey.
Diet consists of insects and insect larvae, often feeds in water.
A Citrine Wagtail has been present near Comox on Vancouver Island BC since November 14, 2012 until at least December 5 (as of the writing of this note). It has been seen around a sometimes flooded agricultural field, typically at the edges or searching for food in shallow puddles. The bird walks, foraging for food, most of the time, although periodically it takes off and flies, giving a flight call as it goes. As it walks, its tail frequently wags up and down (go figure!). As a juvenile bird, it lacked any bright color, but is a beautiful combination of black, white and gray. The bird is medium sparrow-sized and shaped, but with a medium length sharply pointed bill. The dorsal surface, from the crown to the rump are dark gray, while the underside is pale gray. The face has a distinct intermediate gray auricular patch, complimenting soft white eyebrows (which arch behind the auricular patch), lores and throat. Eyes and legs are dark, bill appears to be two-toned--pale yellow at the base and dark at the tip. Undertail coverts and outer tail feathers white. Primaries, secondaries and tertials appear black, edged with white. Primary and median coverts are black, tipped white, showing as clear wing bars. Tail, except for white outer feathers, is black. Flight call was a repeated single somewhat raspy note fairly evenly spaced with pauses. "My experience" below didn't have the option I needed. I have only seen this bird once, but am highly confident of the identification due to scrutinization by many people. This is the second documented record for North America, the first for Canada.
Citation: Personal Experience. I observe this regularly, highly confident.
Expanded Life History
|Feed Ecology And Diet||Contribute Content|
|Nesting Habits||Contribute Content|
|Migration Status||Contribute Content|
|Conservation Status||Contribute Content|
|Local Sites to Spot||Contribute Content|
|Abundance Status||Contribute Content|
|Adult Male Description||Contribute Content|
|Adult Female Description||Contribute Content|
|ITIS Taxonomic Number||Contribute Content|
|Reproductive Characteristics||Contribute Content|
|Relationship to Humans||Contribute Content|
|ID Tips - Size & Shape||Contribute Content|
|ID Tips - Color & Pattern||Contribute Content|
|ID Tips - Habitat||Contribute Content|
|ID Tips - Behavior||Contribute Content|
|ID Tips - Wingspan||Contribute Content|
|ID Tips - Weight||Contribute Content|
|Cool Facts||Contribute Content|
|Local Knowledge||Contribute Content|
Post a Question
|Activity||Date & Time|
|Ann Nightingale added a note to Citrine Wagtail Notes||12/06/2012 at 10:39AM|