Monday, April 19, 2010

Its Black, its black.....

I hear that there is some controversy over the Cresswell Wagtail? I have taken the 'scissors' to an article to show the bits most relevant to the bird. Its by Andrea Corso, an Italian, for Birding World Vol 14:4...

Please have a read if you saw the bird. If the print is too small just click on it for a bigger image. Have a look too at John Malloy's images to compare... 

In short I think the Cresswell bird is a first summer male Black headed Wagtail. I mean, anything with that 'black' a head will do for me!


Tom Tams said...

Hi Stew

I am a little concerned about this wagtail, after reading a lot of info I now think it may well be a hybrid of sorts.
I have many images of the bird on my website:,%20Birds/Black-headed%20Wagtail.html



James said...

The yellow wag special in 'birdwatch' couldn't have been more timely this month!

Ghost of Stringer said...

This is interesting information, Think we need to remember that this sample is from the western side of the expanding feldegg range, where there is overlap with other races, and also this is just 1 persons (and no doubt the editors of BWs) opinion !

Don't get me wrong I am not disputing the information, I just gather that, in the past, there have been counter arguments from other “experts” ? The whole flava wag thing seems like a total minefield to me tbh.

I may be wrong, but I get the impression that in previous years for a feldegg race bird to be considered in the UK by the national experts (BBRC), they will want to see a classic black headed bird ? Whether that is the right or wrong approach is open for discussion. Maybe things have changed now, in which case they must surely need to review a number of apparent feldeggs that have already been binned off as filthy hybrids or intergrades ?!

The abrasion information is very useful and would explain the less extensive black nape, I also thought I noticed a tiny green fleck on the head too, which would support this.

As I said in my post about this bird, I have seen black headed birds like this in Greece, and its only the ones with the big supers that you stick a question mark over when you watching them !

I saw the one in Essex years ago that appeared to have a totally black head, and was widely accepted, but was then later dismissed because it showed a feint supercilium at close range.

.... So, I really do hope that the panel of national experts consider this one to be a proper acceptable feldegg, but if they are still taking the same approach with these birds then I suspect it won't make the grade....

Anyway, regardless of what any “experts” conclude, it was a cracking looking bird I reckon !

Alan Tilmouth said...

Chris Kehoe's report for BBRC in 2006 on rare races stated 'information
on individuals which display small anomalies yet otherwise closely resemble feldegg should still be submitted;
we are keen to monitor the status of birds with potential intergrade characters, which fall into
a broader ‘Black-headed Wagtail group’.

Warren Baker said...

well if one turns up at Migrant Alley, i'll know straight away what it is now :-)

Stewart said...

Ta for the comments all.

I'm not convinced about the hybrid theory. There are so many variations of flava wagtail where do you begin! Until someone can show me why this is not just a first summer feldegg its staying 'Black headed' to me.

Even then whay cant it be a FS of one of the Black headed complex from the range limits that include forms such as Dombrowskii, supercilliaris or melanogrisea?

They are still Black headed.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, well you know what they say...

Ian Fisher said...

Hi Stewart, After reading Adam Rolands article on the Essex bird (BB June 2003, I don't think BBRC will accept this bird as a pure feldegg. Whether accepting these birds as Blk-h Wags is any different to BBRC accepting Pine Buntings with yellow edges to the primaries as Pine Buntings is open to discussion!
A cracking birdthou!