Guide to Boreal Birds
Although its range in North America is limited, the Yellow Wagtail is easy to locate during its short Arctic breeding season. When a ground predator or a human appears, several males gather, fly up, and circle the intruder.
6 1/2" (17 cm). Small and dainty; tail makes up half its total length. Adult olive-gray above, bright yellow below. White eye stripe, wing bars, and outer tail feathers, which flash in flight. Immatures are olive-gray above, with buff underparts and eye stripe; dusky throat collar. Bobs its tail constantly.
Rarely sings, but often utters a call: tsweep. Alarm note sounds like ple-ple-ple.
4-7 buff or greenish eggs, heavily mottled and spotted, usually hidden in a sheltered place on the ground.
Breeds in northern and western Alaska and Aleutians. Winters in Old World. Also in Eurasia.