Motacilla flava - Yellow wagtail:

Summary Information
Living OrganismsAnimalia / Craniata / Aves / Passeriformes / Passeridae / Motacilla / Species

This section is currently predominantly used in Wildpro to link different data types and demonstrate inter-relationships. Although it identifies that taxonomic interrelationships of species (see "header") it does not currently contain detailed information on the bird species itself. As WILDPro is developed, we will gradually convert these pages into full Species pages.

The taxonomy of birds is still under review and the A World Checklist of Birds by Burt L. Monroe, Jr and Charles G. Sibley (B89) has been chosen as the primary reference. The taxonomic structure will be amended when new editions or complete references are identified by the scientific world as the recognized primary references for taxonomy.

Alternative Names
  • Motacilla flava flava - Blue-headed wagtail (B89)
  • Motacilla flava flavissima - Yellowish-crowned wagtail (B89)
  • Motacilla flava cinereocapilla - Ashy-headed wagtail (B89)
  • Motacilla flava leucocephala - White-headed wagtail (B89)
  • Motacilla flava lutea - Yellow-headed wagtail (B89)
  • Motacilla flava feldegg - Black-headed wagtail (B89)
  • Motacilla flava melanogrisea - White-chinned wagtail (B89)
  • Motacilla flava thunbergi - Grey-headed wagtail (B89)
  • Motacilla flava taivana - Green-headed wagtail (B89)
  • Motacilla flava simillima - Siberian yellow-wagtail (B89)
  • Motacilla flava tschutschensis - Alaska yellow-wagtail (B89)
  • -- (B164)
Distribution Palearctic, western, northern Alaska; winters to southern Africa, Australia (B89)
Habitat Breeding - "Damp meadows, fields, edges of lakes, marshes, rivers" (B163)
Further Information Feeding:
  • food - mainly insects
  • feeding behaviour - ground gleans, sometimes hawks


  • location and structure - cup nest on ground
  • nest building - female
  • breeding structure - monogamous


  • markings - patterned
  • number of eggs - 4-6 (3-8)
  • broods - 1 (2) broods
  • incubation - by male and female; 11-13 days


  • development - Altricial
  • parental caring for young - by male and female
  • fledging - 16 days

(B163, B164)

Organisations (UK Contacts):

Electronic Library (further reading):

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General Legislation:

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Individual techniques:

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