Gray Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Wagtails and Pipits (Motacillidae)

Code 4

GRAW

Code 6

MOTCIN

ITIS

Egg Color:

Yellow gray with dark blotches



Number of Eggs:

4 - 5



Incubation Days:

11 - 14



Egg Incubator:

Female



Nest Location:

On ground.



Nest Material:

Twigs, roots, grasses, and moss, lined with hair and feathers.



Migration:

Migratory



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General

Gray Wagtail: Medium-sized wagtail with black throat, blue-gray upperparts, brilliant yellow underparts, distinct white eye-line, and yellow legs and feet. Tail is long, black, and white-edged. Female, winter adult, and juvenile have white throats. Rare visitor to Alaska.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Gray Wagtail: Four to five yellow gray eggs with dark blotches are laid in a nest made of twigs, roots, grass, and moss, lined with hair and feathers, and built on the ground, hidden in a crevice, or sheltered by a boulder or tree roots. Incubation ranges from 11 to 14 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Gray Wagtail: Diet consists mostly of insects and snails; forages on the ground and in shallow water.

Vocalization

Gray Wagtail: Song consists of 3-4 "tsee-tsee" notes. Call is "chink, chink" or "tisk, tisk." Alarm call is an ascending "sueet."

Similar Species

Eastern Yellow Wagtail has olive-yellow upperparts, a yellow throat, and is the expected Motacilla in this range.

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UnderpartsX

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

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X