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White Wagtail

White-backed Vulture
White Tern

Previous bird

White Tern

  • Gygis alba
  • Terns & Gulls

About the White Wagtail

Also known as: European White Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Moroccan Wagtail, Masked Wagtail, Amur Wagtail

The White Wagtail is a small passerine bird with a large natural range and many subspecies. There is great variety in the plumage of the different subspecies. The nominate race, Motacilla alba alba, is mostly grey above and white below. It has a white face with a black cap and chest. White Wagtails breed across much of Europe and Asia.

Wagtails are related to pipits and longclaws. They are named for their habit of constantly bobbing their relatively long tails up and down. The reason behind the non-stop tail-wagging isn't really known, but theories include flushing prey or communication with other wagtails.

The population trend for the White Wagtail is stable, and with its large range and very large population, the conservation status of the species is Least Concern as of November 2014.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 18 July 2013
Scientific Name Motacilla alba
  • Passeriformes
  • Motacillidae
  • Motacilla
  • M. alba
Birdorable Family Wagtails & Pipits
Conservation Status Least Concern
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
(as of 24 July 2017)
Units: Imperial Metric
6.5 to 8.25 inches
.88 ounces

International Names

  • 白鹡鸰 (Chinese)
  • konipas bílý (Czech)
  • Hvid Vipstjert (Danish)
  • Witte Kwikstaart (Dutch)
  • västäräkki (Finnish)
  • Bergeronnette grise (French)
  • Bachstelze (German)
  • Ballerina bianca (Italian)
  • タイリクハクセキレイ [hakusekirei] (Japanese)
  • Linerle (Norwegian)
  • pliszka siwa (Polish)
  • Белая трясогузка (Russian)
  • Lavandera Blanca (Spanish)
  • Sädesärla (Swedish)

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