Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Citrine wagtail

Binomial name: Motacilla citreola, Peter Simon Pallas, 1776

The citrine wagtail(Motacilla citreola) is a small songbird in the family Motacillidae. The term citrine refers to its yellowish colouration. Its systematics, phylogeny and taxonomy are subject of considerable debate in the early 21st century. This is because this bird forms a cryptic species complex with the eastern (M. tschutschensis ) and western yellow wagtail (M. flava). Which of the many taxa in this group should properly refer to which population is unlikely to be resolved in the immediate future.

It is a slender, 15.5–17 cm long bird, with the long, constantly wagging tail characteristic of the genus Motacilla. The adult male in breeding plumage is basically grey or black above, with white on the remiges, and bright yellow below and on the entire head except for the black nape. In winter plumage, its yellow underparts may be diluted by white, and the head is brownish with a yellowish supercilium. Females look generally like washed-out versions of males in winter plumage.

This species breeds in north central Asia in wet meadows and tundra. It migrates in winter to south Asia, often to highland areas. Its range is expanding westwards, and it is a rare but increasing vagrant to western Europe. Vagrants seem to extend the migration rather than straying ; in Bhutan for example, though along one of the species' migration flyways, the citrine wagtail has been recorded as an extremely rare passer-by rather than staying even for a few days or weeks.

It is an insectivorous bird of open country near water, such as wet meadows and bogs, and nests on the ground, laying 4–5 speckled eggs.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Passeriformes
Family
Motacillidae
Genus
Motacilla
Species
Motacilla citreola

Synonyms

  • Budytes citreola, Peter Simon Pallas (1776)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Citrine wagtail, Motacilla citreola in Thailand
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Bang Phra Non-hunting Area
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Tao District, Chiang Mai
  • Fang District, Chiang Mai
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Kumphawapi District, Udon Thani
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mae Ai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Lamphun District, Lamphun
  • Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai
  • Mueang Phayao District, Phayao
  • Mueang Uttaradit District, Uttaradit
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-hunting Area
  • Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pak Thale
  • Pha Daeng National Park
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • San Sai District, Chiang Mai
  • Si Satchanalai District, Sukhothai
  • Thanyaburi District, Pathum Thani
  • Wiang Kaen District, Chiang Rai

Range map of Motacilla citreola in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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