© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki. Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Citrine Wagtail

Motacilla citreola

  • Family: Pipits and wagtails – Motacillidae
  • Appearance: Similar to Yellow Wagtail, but has grey back and two broad white wing bars, and no darker markings on underparts or throat. Males’ heads are entirely bright yellow.
  • Size: Length 15.5–17 cm, weight 15–24 g.
  • Nest: Usually by a hummock, made of dry straw, lined with hair and a few feathers.
  • Breeding: 4–7 eggs laid May–June, incubated by both parents for 14–15 days. Fledglings remain in nest for 12–15 days.
  • Distribution: Main breeding range extends from southern parts of the Baltic region through Central and Northern Russia to Siberia. Has only started to nest in Finland since the late 1990s. Finnish breeding population estimated at just 5–30 pairs.
  • Migration: By day. Little information available due to scarcity of species. May be seen in Finland between late April and October–November. Winters in Asia.
  • Diet: Invertebrates.
  • Calls: A loud, clear “tsriit”.
  • Endangerment: Endangered, protected in Finland. European red list status (also globally) Least concern.

Male Citrine Wagtails in summer plumage have bright yellow heads and underparts, except for white colouring on the vent. Their backs and wings are dark grey with blacker colouring on their upper backs and lower necks. Females have greyish cheeks and caps and yellow chests and eyebrow stripes. Juveniles have pale grey upper parts and whitish underparts with no yellow colouring, so they resemble juvenile White Wagtails except in that they lack black bib-like markings on their chests (though some juvenile Citrine Wagtails may have speckled markings on the edges of their throats).

Citrine Wagtails’ tails are black with broad white edges. In all plumages large areas of white colouring on the wings are a good distinguishing feature, since all individuals have two white wing bars and conspicuous white edging to their secondary wing feathers. Citrine Wagtails have dark brown legs and irises, and black beaks.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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