18 April 2022

Black-headed & Flava Wagtails – Jubail

Whilst birding the Jubail area in mid-March I came across a good number of migrants including my first large numbers of Yellow Wagtails. Mid-February is the start of the spring passage for this species and Black-headed Wagtail feldegg and melanogrisia are often the first subspecies to occur with bema, flava and thunbergi following. The Black-headed Wagtail is part of the Yellow Wagtail complex a group of birds that are common spring and autumn passage migrants, sometimes in hundreds. Thy pass from mid-February to May and again from early August to mid-November with many races identifiable in the field including feldegg, melanogrisia, lutea, flava, thunbergi and bema. By March numbers start to build up and by April, flocks of more than a hundred birds are recorded, with over 150 scattered around the location on this visit. Some intergrades are also seen each spring which often prove difficult to identify.