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