Backyard Birds

Grey Wagtails

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) Data Sheet

The Grey Wagtails (Motacilla cinerea) is a small passerine in the wagtail family Motacillidae, which also includes the pipits and longclaws.

This species breeds in much of temperate Europe and Asia and parts of North Africa. It is resident in the milder parts of its range, such as western Europe, but northern and eastern populations migrate to Africa, South Asia, and Papua New Guinea.

This is an insectivorous bird of fast-flowing streams, although in winter it will move to slower-flowing lowland waters.

It nests in crevices in cliffs and rocks, laying 3-6 speckled eggs.

The Grey Wagtails is a slender bird, 17-20cm in length, with the characteristic long, constantly wagging tail of its genus. It is the longest-tailed of the European wagtails.

The breeding adult male is grey above and yellow below, with a black throat. Other plumages lack the black throat, and the yellow may be diluted by white except in the under-tail area.

The call is a sharper version of that of White Wagtail.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button