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SPIERENBURG P & VAN DIJK J (2020) Hidden among tulips: will the British Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava flavissima last in the Netherlands?. LIMOSA 93 (3): 117-128.

The British Yellow Wagtail is a rare breeding bird in the Netherlands. It traditionally occupies the coastal zone in the west of the country, with the Bulb district near Noordwijk as its stronghold. The Dutch population peaked in the early eighties and numbered 200-350 pairs. Current numbers have decreased to 10-20 pairs. In the Bulb district the Yellowheaded Wagtail breeds in arable land with bulb crops, mostly Tulip Tulipa. Nine sites have been monitored since 2008, out of which four are occupied annually. Breeding ecology and habitat selection closely mirrors that of Blue-headed Wagtail Motacilla flava. Whereas British Yellow Wagtail numbers have plummeted, Blue-headed Wagtail is showing a stable to increasing trend. Due to extensive management, Bulb crops provide favourable habitat for farmland birds. For British Yellow Wagtail anecdotal evidence suggests difficulty in pair formation as a factor in the decline. Shortage of mates leaves birds unpaired or ultimately forming mixed pairs with Blueheaded Wagtail. The proportion of hybrids in the population has increased from 2% in the seventies to 30% in more recent years. The decline in the Bulb district appears to be closely linked to the situation in the United Kingdom, suggesting that the population is dependent on a regular inflow of birds from the core population across the North Sea. Similar to the British situation, the population has stabilised in recent years. Among Dutch breeding birds, the British Yellow Wagtail stands out by its small world population. A decline of 84% since the early eighties ranks it among the most endangered Dutch breeding birds.

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limosa 93.3 2020
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