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Pied wagtail

Pied wagtail

Pied wagtail, Bilton Lane, Harrogate

The pied wagtail in Yorkshire, also called the white wagtail.

Pied wagtail: classification

The pied wagtail is a passerine bird with a long tail that wags. Its Latin name is Motacilla alba.

Pied wagtail: distribution

Pied wagtail, Goldsborough Mill Farm

Pied wagtail, Goldsborough Mill Farm

The pied wagtail is resident in Britain and Ireland all year round, as well as in other parts of Europe including France and Spain. It is seen further north and east in summer, during the breeding season, and further south into the Middle East and north east Africa in winter.

Pied wagtails like farmyards, lakesides, and towns (Collins Bird Guide).

Pied wagtail: description & behaviour

Pied wagtail, Yorkshire Dales

Pied wagtail, Yorkshire Dales

The pied wagtail is slender with a long black and white tail. It walks with jerky movements of its head and tail. In summer, the male's neck and back are black, where the female's plumage here is grey and blotchy. (The Goldsborough Mill Farm photo shows a female, and the Yorkshire Dales photo a male).

In winter, the male's back is grey, with a sharp border between its grey back and its black head; the female's back is grey, and there is a gradual transition to a darker head.

Pied wagtails nest in stone walls, beneath roof tiles, and among ivy.

They spend a lot of time on the ground, looking for insects on short grass.


All images © Hedgehog Cycling

Yorkshire wildlife: brown hare

Hare at Studley Royal

The brown hare, or European hare, is a charismatic wild resident of Yorkshire. This non-native species has been in Britain since Roman times at least. Preferring arable land, or grassland with hedges, brown hares are most likely to be seen in the spring. That's the time of year when they may display 'boxing' behaviour.

Read about the brown hare.

Yorkshire wildlife

Red kite, Yorkshire Showground

Yorkshire wildlife, from red kites to hares, hedgehogs, and seals. Notes on the animals and birds, including description, behaviour and life cycle, plus our own photos.

Read about Yorkshire wildlife.

Pied wagtail, Bilton Pied wagtail, GoldsboroughPied wagtail, Yorkshire Dales

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