Gray Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Wagtails and Pipits (Motacillidae)

Code 4

GRAW

Code 6

MOTCIN

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Gray Wagtail is a small passerine bird belonging to the wagtail family, first described in 1771. Breeding grounds of the Gray Wagtail span throughout temperate Europe, Asia and north Africa. In the milder climate regions, this species is a resident all year long. These are typically located in western Europe. However, those in colder climates migrate in winter months to Africa, South Asia and New Guinea. Nests are built in crevices on cliffs and rocks. The diet of this species consists of insects caught in fast flowing streams during the summer and slower flowing streams in the winter. The conservation status of the Gray Wagtail is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Gray Wagtail: Medium wagtail with black throat, blue-gray upperparts, brilliant yellow underparts. Distinct white eye-line and long malar stripe stand out against dark face. Bill is black. Legs and feet are pink. Tail is long, black, and white-edged. Has the longest tail of the European wagtails.

 

Range and Habitat

Gray Wagtail: This is primarily a Eurasian species. It is rare to casual on the western Aleutians, Pribilofs, and St. Lawrence islands; it occurs accidentally in central California. This bird's preferred habitats include upland streams and their vicinities, rocky places or cliffs, and lakes and rivers.

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Gray Wagtail SONGS AND CALLS

Gray Wagtail H1

Call is a harsh "chink, chink".

Gray Wagtail H2

Song is a high-pitched "tsee-tsee-tsee".

Similar Sounding

Eastern Yellow Wagtail U1

Flight call is a repeated "seet".


Voice Text

"tsee-tsee-tsee", "chink", "tisk", "sueet"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Gray Wagtail was first described by Marmaduke Tunstall in his 1771 Ornithologia Britannica.
  • It is the longest tailed of the European wagtails.
  • This is an insectivorous bird of fast flowing streams, although in winter it will move to slower flowing lowland waters.
  • 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

Chris Vest

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Malar stripeX
Also called whisker, mustache or malar streak, it is the area below the eye and bill on the sides of the chin that stretches downwards.
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