Monday, 14 September 2015

Black-backed Wagtail (Motacilla lugens)

Adult Black-backed Wagtail (Motacilla lugensat Akkeshi, Japan - December 2014

Local Name (Japan): haku-sekirei (ハクセキレイ) - "white wagtail"*
Weight: 25g
Length: 16.5-21cm
Wingspan: 25-30cm
 NO UK STATUS /Red List: Not Yet Evaluated 

This is one of those times where there isn't exactly scientific consensus on whether this is a full species of not, but a selection of organisations DO recognise it as a full-species, along with others mentioning that it may be split under their listing in the future, so I include it for now.  Essentially, it is the North-East Asian replacement (or subspecies of, if that's the view) of the White Wagtail that is found ubiquitously throughout Eurasia.  Similar to the pied wagtail we have in the UK it is a stark black and white bird, rather than the usual additional greys and possesses a distinctive eye-stripe.  Care should be taken when examining wagtails in Japan - the Japanese Wagtail and several subspecies of White Wagtail are also present.  This species probably represents one of the most likely species on this blog to be "lumped" back with the White Wagtail, at which point I will fold this article in.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Motacillidae
Genus: Motacilla
Subspecies: taxonomy unresolved

 - Sighting Locations -
JAPAN - Widespread Resident
 - KYOTO/OSKA 2013 TRIP: One seen at Osaka Airport.
 - TOKYO/HOKKAIDO 2014 TRIP: Single individual along shore-front at Akkeshi 

Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia*, BirdGuides*, BirdForum Opus*, Arkive*, IUCN Red List

* Due to being a split that is not recognized by all authorities, a lot of this is specifically pertinent to the White Wagtail inclusive of this species, rather than specifically to the Black-backed Wagtail. 

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