Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail2

Scientific NameMotacilla alba yarrellii
Fledge Days13-16
Incubation Days12-14
Lifespan2 years
Number of Clutches1-2
Number of Eggs3-7
Size16.5 - 18cm
Weight17 - 25g

Bird Family : Wagtails

Pied Wagtail Facts - Information About Pied Wagtail

Pied Wagtail - Motacilla Alba

The Pied Wagtail is a fairly common sight in many towns and cities. It can often be seen running around on the pavements and gardens in fairly built up areas. The combination of size, tail, actions and colour makes the Pied Wagtail unmistakable.



  • Adult males and females are similar.

  • Pied Wagtails are small, long tailed black and white birds, around 18 cm from tip of tail to tip of bill.

  • They stand very upright on relatively long legs, dashing about and constantly wagging their long tails.

  • They are almost like a mini Magpie.


  • The upperparts and tail are predominately black.

  • Tail is long and has white outer tail feathers.

  • Rump, upper tail coverts, back, nape, and crown are all black.

  • Wings are black with broad white edges to all wing feathers, it show as a double white wingbar.

  • Face is white with dark eye.

  • Chin, throat and breast are black, flanks dark grey.

  • The rest of the underparts are white.

  • Bill, legs and eye black.


  • Similar to males but the back and nape are dark grey with darker patches.

  • Wings also appear greyer.


  • Juveniles appear from May onwards and are similar adult females.

  • Young birds lack the obvious black markings of the adults and appear more grey, the head shows more markings around the face; grey lores, white eyebrow and pale moustachial stripe.

  • Bill and eye black, legs often dark grey.

Status and Distribution

The Pied Wagtail is a very abundant breeding resident in the UK with over 50,000 pairs. The Pied Wagtail occurs in all counties throughout the UK and Ireland.

In summer numbers increase as migrants come to the UK from Continental Europe (White Wagtail) to breed.
Pied Wagtails often roost in large parties and the chattering of birds going to roost will often raise your attention.


Pied Wagtails occur in all habitat types throughout the UK, woodlands, parks, gardens, farmland, hedgerows, towns and cities. indeed any open country habitat with suitable scrub.

They are insectivorous, In the garden Pied Wagtails will take insects from the grass.


Several call notes; most often a hard loud ‘chisick’ sometimes repeated.
Song is a nonstarter with no real structure and consisting of a couple of twittering notes.



The following food is favoured by Pied Wagtail