White Wagtail

Motacilla alba

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Wagtails and Pipits (Motacillidae)

Code 4

WHWA

Code 6

MOTLUG

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The White Wagtail is a small bird found throughout Europe and Asia, as well as part of north Africa. Most populations are permanent residents, but northern birds will migrate to Africa in winter months. The preferred habitat of this bird includes open country near bodies of water. It has adapted to foraging for food in urban areas as well. Nests are made in crevices of stone walls, both manmade and natural. Insects and small invertebrates make up a large part of their diet. The conservation rating for the White Wagtail is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

White Wagtail: Medium-sized wagtail, mostly white except for black upperparts and upper breast. All-white wing appears as a white wing patch when folded. The tail is black with white outer tail feathers that are conspicuous in flight and flicked continually when walking. Black bill, legs and feet.

 

Range and Habitat

White Wagtail: This species is a native of Eurasia; it is a rare visitor on the outer Aleutians, other Alaskan islands, and the extreme northwest coast of Alaska, where it sometimes breeds. Sometimes they may occur further east. Its referred habitats include rocky seashores, grasslands, lakes, and rivers.

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White Wagtail SONGS AND CALLS

White Wagtail E3

"Tze-tseep" and other calls from a pair.

White Wagtail L1

"Tzittup" calls given by a small migrating flock while foraging.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"chuchun-chuchun", "zit", "chissik", "piiup"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The White Wagtail was originally described by Linnaeus in his 18th century work, Systema Naturae, and it still bears its original name of Motacilla alba.
  • The Latin genus name originally meant "little mover", but certain medieval writers though it meant "wag-tail", giving rise to a new Latin word, cilla, for "tail". The species name, alba, is Latin for "white".
  • Willy Wagtail was a colloquial name used on the Isle of Man, replacing the older name of ushag vreck.
  • A group of wagtails are collectively known as a "flock" of wagtails.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

RANGE MAP PALAU

About this Palau Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Palau islands.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
Outer tail feathersX
The tail feathers farthest from the center.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X