Could you name this bird with the yel­low­ish tinge to its ‘ears’?

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

QI found this wag­tail back in late Au­gust on the Dorset coast at Swan­age. It looked ‘dif­fer­ent’ to a Pied Wag­tail and seemed to have a yel­low­ish tinge to its ear coverts. The pho­tos are not good, as they were taken from some dis­tance on a windy day, but could you tell me what it might be? David Ware­ham

AThe yel­low­ish tinge is hard to de­tect, and may just be to do with the light, although it could also be stain­ing from some­thing that the bird has been eat­ing. Oth­er­wise this looks good for a ju­ve­nile Pied Wag­tail, rather than a White Wag­tail (which is also pos­si­ble in the UK, es­pe­cially in south­ern parts). The Pied Wag­tail is, of course, ac­tu­ally a sub­species (yarrel­lii) of White Wag­tail (Motacilla alba); how­ever, be­cause it is by far the com­moner of the two in Bri­tain and Ireland (White Wag­tails are merely pas­sage birds, while Pieds breed), you’ll find that it is gen­er­ally treated as a species in it­self in field guides.

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