White Wagtail

Motacilla alba




Wagtails and Pipits (Motacillidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pale blue to gray with gray or brown speckles

Number of Eggs:

4 - 8

Incubation Days:

13 - 15

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Occasionally on ground., In ridges of cliff or hollow in bank.

Nest Material:

Grass, forbs, leaves, roots, and twigs, lined with grass, hair, and feathers.





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. Tail is black with white outer tail feathers that are conspicuous in flight and flicked continually when walking. Sexes are similar. Winter adult and juvenile have mainly gray upperparts and reduced black on breast. Accidental visitor in Alaska.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

White Wagtail: Four to eight pale blue to gray eggs with gray or brown speckles are laid in a nest constructed of grass, forbs, leaves, roots, and twigs and lined with grass, hair, and feathers. Incubation ranges from 13 to 15 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

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


White Wagtail: Calls are either a high-pitched "chissik" or "zit." Song is a warbled twittering of slurred "zit" notes.

Similar Species

White Wagtail: Rare vagrant to Alaska. White Wagtail lacks the yellow plumage seen on Gray and Eastern Yellow Wagtails.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
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