837. Motacilla citreola.
The Yellow-headed Wagtail.
Motacilla citreola, Pall. Pels. Puss. Reichs, iii, p. 696 (1776); Sharpe, Cat. B. M. x, p. 503. Budytes citreola (Pall), Blyth, Cat. p. 138; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 352 (pt.) ; Brooks, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. ii, p. 82 ; Scully, S. F. iv, p. 151 ; Hume, Cat. no. 594 bis; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 69 ; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 452; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 241. ? Budvtes calcarata, Hodgs., As. Res. xix, p. 190 (1836); Hume, S. F. vii, p. 401.
Coloration. In normal winter plumage the sexes are alike. The forehead, a broad supercilium, the sides of the head, and the whole lower plumage are yellow, the ear-coverts more or less streaked with dusky and with a blackish line bordering them below; lores dusky; the sides of the throat and breast with more or less concealed black bases to the feathers ; the upper plumage ashy grey, tinged with green on the head; the wings dark brown, the coverts and tertiaries very broadly edged with white, the other quills narrowly; tail black, the two outer pairs of feathers nearly entirely white.
In summer plumage the sexes are also alike except that the female is slightly paler; the entire head and neck become deep yellow, the feathers of the crown with tiny black tips which soon wear off; entire lower plumage the same deep yellow; the yellow on the hind neck is bounded by a broad black band and the upper plumage is tinged with bluish ashy; the other parts remain unchanged.
The young bird is ashy brown above with very narrow paler margins to the feathers ; a very broad pale fulvous supercilium, bordered above, on the sides of the crown, by a black band; lores and ear-coverts streaked with dusky and fulvous ; the lower plumage a very pale fulvous with a gorget of black spots down the sides of the throat and across the upper breast; wings and tail as in the adult. The young bird probably assumes the adult plumage at the first spring moult.
Bill, legs, and claws black; iris dark brown (Bingham).
Length about 7; tail 3.3; wing 3.5 ; tarsus 1.05; bill from gape .8; hind claw .5.
Distribution. A winter visitor to the greater portion of the Empire, descending in India to about the latitude of Belgaum and in the eastern part of the Empire as far as Manipur. This bird summers in Central and Northern Asia, and it also occurs in Europe.