Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Cho Lae still proves to be relatively good for the brightly coloured Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola). On March 25, I watched a flock of more than 20 individuals coming to roost in the same area of rice fields. They came from every direction, circled around while giving their loud hight pitched call before dropping into the field. Almost all of them were already in their beautiful breeding plumage with bright yellow head and underparts. Unfortunately, they were extremely shy, so I ended up getting no decent shot of them.

Male M.c.citreola assuming breeding plumage

Male M.c.calcarata; probably the first confirmed record in Thailand

Citrine Wagtails coming back to roost

Male M.c.citreola calling in flight

It was interesting to see that at least 1 male bird had almost complete black mantle indicating that it's the subspecies 'calcarata', of which no certain record has been reported in Thailand. Most of the Citrine Wagtails that winter here are the subspecies 'citreola', the nominate race. I tried to get more photos of the calcarata but couldn't get any better than the shot above. Below is the sketch I made in my new sketchbook. After watching the wagtails coming back to roost, I drove around in the nearby area and found a small flock of 3 adult Blue-tailed Bee-eaters (Merops philippinus) perching on a bare tree just by the roadside. It is a breeding visitor here in northern Thailand and is much less common than the smaller Green Bee-eater which can be found year round. Shame the light wasn't good as the sun has already set. I still need to get some better photos of this bird.

My sketch of the male M.c.calcarata

Adult Blue-tailed Bee-eater

They were busy preening and stretching.


  1. Nice citrine wag photos.... and an interesting record of "calcarata" - the sketch should blow away any rarities committee !

  2. Wow! To see so many of those wagtails must be wonderful. Your photos are great records and are very thoughtful not to mention those important sketches. You're also lucky to have a choice of bee eaters to find. Just one I've seen in Australia but I only have average shots myself.