Distribution of Yellow Wagtail Forms Motacilla flava – Complex in the North of Western Siberia, Russia

Mikhail G. Golovatin*, Vasiliy A. Sokolov
Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Division Russian Academy of Sciences, 202/3, 8Marta Str. Ekaterinburg, 620144, Russia

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© Golovatin and Sokolov; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Division Russian Academy of Sciences, 202/3, 8Marta Str. Ekaterinburg, 620144, Russia; Tel: +7 9221024289; Fax: +7(343)2606500; E-mail:


On the basis of the materials obtained from the studies carried out from 2000 to 2015, we present the data on distribution of the Yellow Wagtail forms in the north of Western Siberia, i.e. within the overlapping boundaries of the ranges of a complex set of several polytypical forms – Motacilla flava sensu lato. Four forms have been identified here: two forms from the group of Western Yellow Wagtails (M. f. thunbergi and M. f. beema & flava) and two forms from the group of Eastern Yellow Wagtails (M. t. plexa and M. t. tschutschensis). Western “black-headed” form M. f. thunbergi is spread in the area of the northern taiga, forest tundra and south shrub tundra within the Ob River basin, while eastern “black-headed” form M. t. plexa is found in the shrubby tundra and further to the east from the Ob River in forest tundra and northern taiga. Western “light headed” wagtails M. f. beema & flava spread as far as 65º05'N along the floodplain of the Ob River. Eastern “light-headed” wagtail M. t. tschutschensis penetrates the Taz peninsula and, through the anthropogenic sites, the north-east coast of the Yamal Peninsula, i.e. the Sabetta area as far as 71º14'N. The entire range of the Yellow Wagtail is characterized by the interchange of zones inhabited by “black-headed” (without the expressed eyebrows on males) and “light-headed” (with notable eyebrows on males or white-headed) forms from the north to the south.

Keywords: Yellow Wagtail, Colour Form, Distribution, Western Siberia.