Barry Kent MacKayArt by Barry Kent MacKay
Art and Photo Presentation

In this section are copies of original works of art. All of them are dedicated to helping us live according to unconditional love and compassion, which is the foundation of our peaceful means of bringing true and lasting peace to all of God's creatures, whether they are human beings or other animals.

White (Pied) Wagtail (Montacilla alba yarrellii)

White Pied Wagtai
(Artwork - 149)
White (Pied) Wagtail (Montacilla alba yarrellii)

The species known as the White (or Pied) Wagtail has an enormous breeding range across Europe, Asia Minor, Asia and a small part of northern Africa. Individuals from various parts of this wide range show marked differences in the amount, and patterning, of the three dominate colours of the bird’s plumage: white, grey and black. Scientists separate these into distinct subspecies, between nine and eleven of them. Experts debate over the exact number, some thinking the group should be separated into two species, the dark ones, “pied wagtails”, and the light ones, “white wagtails”. There are, or may be, intermediate forms where subspecies’ respective ranges overlap.

The subspecies I have shown in this approximately life-size painting, yarrellii, is the one found in the British Isles, and is characterized by a black back and solid white cheek, thus a member of the “pied” group. The painting illustrated the cover of a journal, Ontario Field Ornithologists, that featured a paper about the first appearance of this species in Ontario, in 2017, and from photographs it was determined that it was the UK subspecies. In some other parts of the White Wagtail’s range it has a grey back, and interestingly enough, that includes the birds found just across the English Channel, on the European mainland. For a well-done schematic showing the different patterns, GO HERE.

In the same family, Motacillidae, as the pipits and longclaws, wagtails are often quite terrestrial, but also can be found in trees and on rocks and buildings, often near water (“water wagtail” is a familiar colloquial name). They are common in urban parks and gardens. The species is the national bird of Latvia. They are slender, graceful birds, very active, and do, indeed, wag their long tails, constantly. They migrate south deep into the tropical regions of African and Asia. Food is mostly small invertebrates. Being both elegant and familiar, this species has occurred on stamps from at least 18 different locations in Eurasia.

The painting is mixed media, acrylic and gouache watercolour, on compressed illustration board, and is approximately 10 by 8 inches in size.

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Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
Barry describes himself as a Canadian artist/writer/naturalist.
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