White Wagtail

 The White Wagtail

Latin name: Motacilla alba.

The White Wagtail

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.

The White Wagtail

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.

The White Wagtail

Food: These birds like to feed from the ground on insects, crustaceans and molluscs.

The White Wagtail

Distribution: The white wagtail is a Spring and Summer visitor to Great Britain and migrates from Alaska.

The White Wagtail

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.

The White Wagtail

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.

The White Wagtail

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.

The White Wagtail

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.

The White Wagtail

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