Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Passeriformes Family: Motacillidae
BTO Codes: YW, YELWA EURING No: 10170
Number in Britain: 15 thousand Territories (Summer)
Conservation Status:
UK: RED
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant Breeder, Passage Visitor
Subspecies: flavissima (BP), flava (P), cinereocapilla (V), thunbergi (P), feldegg (V) recorded in Britain (of 17 subsp. in the world)
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Length: 17 cm Wingspan: 25 cm Weight: M/F: 18 g    
Scientific name from: Gr.: muttex a bird described by Hesychius and L.: flavus=yellow
World Distribution: BREEDS: Eurasia, n Africa, Alaska, WINTERS south to s Africa, n Australia
Habitat: Damp meadows, marsh, riverbanks
Diet: Small invertebrates from ground or flycatching, often near livestock
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: BirdTrends   
Regional Trends: England   English Regions
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore    BBS Maps
British Population Size:
    Summer: 15 thousand Territories in 2009
    First Record: c. 1600 [Fossil evidence from Devensian (last) glaciation, 10-120,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: RED because Recent Breeding Population Decline,
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 GREEN  
   Races of Concern: flavissima RED (Recent Decline), flava AMBER (Rare or Localised), thunbergi AMBER (European Concern)
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    Most frequent in: Arable Farmland, Estuaries
    Also common in: Along Streams
Relative Frequency in Each Habitat:
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries
Average Day of First Arrival: 7 Apr
European Population Size:
    Summer: 3.9 to 7 million pairs   (Trend in Numbers)
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: Bern(III), NERC (41)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 19 x 14 mm Egg Weight: 1.8 g (of which 6 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 14   (more would be welcome!)
Clutch Size: 5 - 6 eggs 5.24 ± 0.88 (3 - 7) N = 178
Incubation: 14 days 13.59 ± 1.27 (11 - 16.5) N = 178   by the: Female
Fledging: 13 - 15days 13.94 ± 1.21 (12 - 15.5) N = 425 as: Altricial, downy
Source:
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Nest Record Scheme data
First Clutches Laid: 24 May (7 May - 3 Jul)
Number of Broods: 1-2
See trends in Breeding Productivity
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.533 ± 0.031       
Juvenile Survival: 0.463 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: 1 year Typical Lifespan: 3 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 7 years 1 months 14 days (set in 1982)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries

Biometrics

Ring Size: A
Wing Length Adult: 81.6 ± 3.0 Range 76 - 86 mm, N =295
Juvenile: 81.2 ± 2.6 77 - 85 mm, N =999
Male: 82.8 ± 2.5 79 - 86 mm, N =176
Female: 79.3 ± 2.8 75 - 84 mm, N =82
Weight Adult: 17.55 ± 1.70 Range 15.30 - 20.40 g , N =270
Juvenile: 17.89 ± 1.69 15.50 - 21.00 g , N =869
Male: 17.71 ± 1.48 15.50 - 19.90 g , N =159
Female: 16.94 ± 1.78 15.00 - 21.30 g , N =77
Source:
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Western Yellow Wagtail
Gaelic: Breacan-buidhe Welsh: Siglen Felen
Danish: Gul vipstjert Dutch: Gele kwikstaart
Finnish: Keltavästäräkki French: Bergeronnette printanière
German: Schafstelze Hungarian: Sárga billegeto
Icelandic: Gulerla Irish: Glasóg Bhuí
Italian: Cutrettola Norwegian: Gulerle
Polish: Pliszka zólta Portuguese: Alvéola-amarela
Spanish: Lavandera boyera Swedish: Gulärla

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Smith, S. 1950 The yellow wagtail Collins, London [598.861 SMI]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides