Latin name: Motacilla alba.
Description: The white wagtail has a long tail which is a grey-black colour on the top and white underneath. It has a white and black breast, with a black crown and white around it’s eyes. The wings on the white wagtail are grey, black and white. The white wagtail has a grey back and it is this which distinguishes it from the pied wagtail, which is very similar, only the pied wagtail has a black back. The male and female white wagtails look very similar to each other, only the female has slightly less black on her crown and breast than the male.
Habitat: These migratory birds are often found in coastal areas, but they can be seen inland. They like to stay close to water courses such as lakes, rivers and canals.
Food: These birds like to feed from the ground on insects, crustaceans and molluscs.
Distribution: The white wagtail is a Spring and Summer visitor to Great Britain and migrates from Alaska.
Nesting: The white wagtail likes to nest in a hole in a wall, roof, tree, clay bank, shed or outbuilding. The nests are made from grasses, roots, moss, wool and hair.
Eggs: The female white wagtail lays 4-7 blue/grey-white spotted eggs from April – May. The eggs are incubated by both parents for approximately 12 days. White wagtails usually lay two clutches of eggs.
Did You Know?
- White wagtails run about rapidly.
- They like to perch on tree stumps and on buildings.
- When a white wagtail perches it likes to wag it’s tail up and down.
- White wagtails like to form groups for migration.
- The white wagtail has a piercing call.
- The song of the white wagtail is a chattering warble.
- The white wagtail chicks fledge from day 12-16.
I have noted the presence of the White Wagtail since the beginning of April this year (2007) and note that it is a bird that likes to wander about on the ground as well as fly from object to object, wagging it’s tail when it perches.