Unusual Citrine Wagtail?

In Brittany, France

by Martin and Philippe Dubois

We can get juvenile/ 1st winter Citrine Wagtails pretty much anytime now. Philippe Dubois sent these photos of a 1st winter Citrine Wagtail taken in Brittany, NW France. It was present, 7-10 September, 2011. All photos by Matthieu Canevet.

Notice anything odd?

The lores are really dark looking. Phillipe, Nils van Duivendijk and I chatted about it and we all thought it looked OK still for Citrine, but an odd one. Others thought it wasn’t quite right. Here’s what I wrote:

 “Interesting bird for sure- and I do love these autumn wagtails!
 I think this look like Citrine. All the patterns look fine apart from the dark lores (the whole head seem little dark) I do see some warmth in keeping with Citrine at the bill base and tail length- well the last one I saw in Shetland in this plumage was surprisingly short-tailed looking
(see http://birdingfrontiers.com/2011/12/01/finale-shetland-autumn-2011/ )
 Also with tricky bird nowadays, an ideal extra factor is to also record the call. The sonograms of Citrine and eastern are (usually) distinguishable as I remember.
 This bird  as an example
 is more hybrid like and the sonogram was more ‘eastern flava’  than Citrine.

1st winter Citrine Wagtail, NW France, Sept. 2011 all photos by Matthieu Canevet.

About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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3 Responses to Unusual Citrine Wagtail?

  1. Jan Jörgensen (JanJ) says:

    Hi Martin.

    One swedish Citrine by two photographers, The first one – http://tinyurl.com/cya5ht7 – looks abnormally dark-lored. The other one – http://tinyurl.com/crefzah – looks more like the bird was seen in the field, a little paler lored but still rather dark, newertheless a Citrine.
    Angle plays an important role – paler on a direct side view, as can be seen in the french bird here.


  2. Roy Hargreaves says:

    Hi Martin,

    I seem to recall there was a Citrine at Beddington with similarly dark lores quite a few years ago that also was fairly early in the autumn. This is apparently associated with juveniles that are not fully grown and so would be most likely in early occurring birds such as this one (see Alstrom et al).



    P.S. see you on Shetland.

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