White Wagtail

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.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 18 July 2013
Scientific Name
Motacilla alba
  • Passeriformes
  • Motacillidae
  • Motacilla
  • M. alba
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Least Concern (as of 4 April 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
6.5 to 8.25 inches
.88 ounces

International Names

Chinese (汉语) 白鹡鸰
Czech (Cesky) konipas bílý
Danish (Dansk) Hvid Vipstjert
Dutch (Nederlands) Witte Kwikstaart
Finnish (Suomi) västäräkki
French (Français) Bergeronnette grise
German (Deutsch) Bachstelze
Italian (Italiano) Ballerina bianca
Japanese (日本語) タイリクハクセキレイ [hakusekirei]
Norwegian (Norsk) Linerle
Polish (Polski) pliszka siwa
Russian (русский язык) Белая трясогузка
Spanish (Español) Lavandera Blanca
Swedish (Svenska) Sädesärla
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