Black-backed Wagtail

I spotted this striking black-backed wagtail in a cemetery near the entrance to Kita Senri Park today. I followed it around until I got as close enough to get a decent photo. The bird had an undulating flight and was wary of me.

The black-backed wagtail (Motacilla alba lumens) is actually a subspecies of the white wagtail (Motacilla alba) although some ornithologists claim it is a separate species. The white wagtail has a huge range through Russia, Europe, Africa and Asia and because of this, 12 named subspecies have developed.  The black-backed wagtail is a year-round resident of Japan and neighboring Russia. It can be identified by the thin black eye stripe. It is also known as the Japanese Pied Wagtail or kamchatka. It differs from other mainly birds that like insects, in that it feeds on insects all winter long, while others may switch to vegetable matter.


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