Pipits and Wagtails (Motacillidae)

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) - HBW 9, p. 785

French: Bergeronnette des ruisseaux German: Gebirgsstelze Spanish: Lavandera Cascadeña

Taxonomy: Motacilla Cinerea Tunstall, 1771, no locality = Wycliffe, Yorkshire, England.
Relationships uncertain. Sometimes thought to form a superspecies with M. clara; possibly closer to E forms of M. flava. Variation clinal, tail length decreasing gradually from W to E, and E individuals on average darker, but differences relatively minor and much individual variation; E races melanope and robusta possibly better merged with nominate. Similarly, birds from Turkey, Caucasus and Iran sometimes treated as race caspica, but appear indistinguishable from nominate. Six subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • cinerea Tunstall, 1771 - British Is and N, W & S Fennoscandia S through much of W Europe to Iberia and islands in Mediterranean Sea, NW Africa (Morocco, N Algeria), Turkey, Caucasus and N & SW Iran.
  • melanope Pallas, 1776 - breeds N Asia from Ural Mts E to C coast of Sea of Okhotsk, S to NW, N & E Mongolia and E China (S to S Gansu, S Shaanxi and Hebei); also in mountains from Tien Shan S to E Afghanistan and E along Himalayas; winters NE Africa and S & SE Asia.
  • robusta (C. L. Brehm, 1857) - breeds extreme E Asia from E Russia (S & C Kamchatka and Amurland) S to Korea and Japan; winters S to Sundas and New Guinea.

     See all 6 subspecies
  • cinerea Tunstall, 1771 - British Is and N, W & S Fennoscandia S through much of W Europe to Iberia and islands in Mediterranean Sea, NW Africa (Morocco, N Algeria), Turkey, Caucasus and N & SW Iran.
  • melanope Pallas, 1776 - breeds N Asia from Ural Mts E to C coast of Sea of Okhotsk, S to NW, N & E Mongolia and E China (S to S Gansu, S Shaanxi and Hebei); also in mountains from Tien Shan S to E Afghanistan and E along Himalayas; winters NE Africa and S & SE Asia.
  • robusta (C. L. Brehm, 1857) - breeds extreme E Asia from E Russia (S & C Kamchatka and Amurland) S to Korea and Japan; winters S to Sundas and New Guinea.
  • patriciae Vaurie, 1957 - Azores (Furnas, São Miguel).
  • schmitzi Tschusi, 1900 - Madeira.
  • canariensis Hartert, 1901 - Canary Is.