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21 February 2015

Fauna of Moldova

L : White Stork (白鸛) ; R : Yellow Wagtail (黃鶺鴒)
Moldova (2014)

26th November, 2014. Chişinău

White Storks are tall long-necked wading birds with long bare red legs and a straight pointed red bill. The white plumage of the head, neck, and body contrasts with the black wing feathers highlighted with a sheen of purple and green iridescence. The contour feathers of the lower neck and chest are elongated to form a fluffy ruff that can be erected during courtship displays. A small patch of bare black skin surrounds their brown eyes. Sexes are similar in appearance, though males are slightly larger.

Juvenile birds are duller in coloration than adults. The black primaries are tinged with brown. Their blackish bills and dull brown legs slowly acquire the red color of the adults as they mature.

Though storks are considered to be largely silent birds, most species perform some variety of a bill-clattering display. This display reaches its most advanced form in the White Stork. They begin by throwing their heads straight back to create an amplifying resonance box in the gular pouch of the lower neck. As they clatter their upper and lower mandibles together rapidly they produce a loud machine-gun-like rattle that rises and falls in pace.

Yellow Wagtail is a small passerine in the wagtail family Motacillidae, which also includes the pipits and longclaws.

This species breeds in much of temperate Europe and Asia. It is resident in the milder parts of its range, such as western Europe, but northern and eastern populations migrate to Africa and south Asia.

It is a slender 15–16 cm long bird, with the characteristic long, constantly wagging tail of its genus. It is the shortest tailed of the European wagtails. The breeding adult male is basically olive above and yellow below. In other plumages, the yellow may be diluted by white. The heads of breeding males come in a variety of colours and patterns depending on subspecies.

The call is a characteristic high-pitched jeet. This insectivorous bird inhabits open country near water, such as wet meadows. It nests in tussocks, laying 4-8 speckled eggs.

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