10 May 2023

lutea Yellow Wagtail – Dhahran Hills

Birding the football fields near Dhahran Wastewater Lake in 6 May produced twenty plus Yellow Wagtails. One of the Yellow Wagtails was a bright adult male lutea Yellow Wagtail. It was feeding around the grassy football fields but came close to the edge near the road allowing some close-up photos to be taken. I rarely see this sub-species and was pleasantly surprised when I located the bird on the field. The plumage variation of the male lutea in summer can by divided into three main types: a) wholly yellow head, b) yellow supercilium and forehead, and largely yellow ear-coverts & c) yellow supercilium, greenish forehead and crown, largely greenish ear-coverts, and distinct dark loral stripe. The bird seen had a wholly yellow head and was a very bright individual. In Saudi Arabia, it is uncommon and usually occurs singly or a few individuals in flocks of M. f. flava. They occur in the central regions from March to May and again from August to November. In the Eastern Province, birds occur from mid-April to mid-May where it appears to be the least common western yellow wagtail along with the superciliaris. In the western part of Saudi Arabia, four males were captured in Hadda (Makkah Region) on 3rd April 1948 (Meinertzhagen, 1949) and there is a record from Wadi Muhayil (Asir Province) on 8 May 2002.