Conspicuous phenotypic differences sometimes coexist with shallow genome-wide divergence between taxa. Along with genomically localized selection and extensive gene flow, a high rate of meiotic recombination might contribute to such a pattern; however, empirical evidence for the latter is lacking. We studied meiotic recombination in the white wagtail (Motacilla alba) - a bird species showing extensive divergence in plumage traits but little genomic differentiation, yet broadly incongruent geographical variation between morphological traits and genetic markers. We found that the white wagtail (2n = 82) has the highest number of recombination nodules per autosome set (76.1 ± 8.6) and thus the longest autosomal genetic map (3805 cM) among all birds examined to date. We suggest that a high recombination rate could promote decoupling of phenotypic and genetic variation and influence the genetic architecture of traits involved in reproductive barriers. Our study highlights the importance of studying meiotic recombination within a unified methodological framework, and the need for a broader sampling of taxa to understand how variation in recombination rates contributes to patterns of speciation.