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White (pied; black-backed) wagtail        Images © Mark A. Chappell

A large complex of subspecies of the white wagtail (Motacilla alba) are found across much of Europe and northern Asia.   Two are shown here.   The first few images are of the 'pied wagtail' M. a. alba, which was abundant in both town and country areas in eastern Poland (these were in Biebrza National Park).   Its relative, the more colorful yellow wagtail, was much harder to find.   A grayish juvenile pied wagtail can be seen (if you squint) sitting on the hoof of a European bison on this page.   The two photos at the bottom of the page show the 'black-backed' wagtail M. a. lugens, typically found in Japan and the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Siberia.   This individual had strayed to an extremely different habitat:   the hot desert next to the Salton Sea in southeastern California.

  • Canon 1D3, 500 mm f4 IS lens plus 1.4x or 2X converter, some with fill-in flash (2008)