Pied Wagtails - Hebridean Birds
Western Isles Birds - Pied Wagtails - Hebridean Birds - Western Isles Birds.

The Pied Wagtail is a small black and white - pied bird with a long tail.

The pied wagtail can sometimes be mistaken as being a young Magpie - however this bird is much smaller than a Magpie.

This little bird is only a little bigger than a great tit. The most distinctive feature is its wagging tail.
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Pied Wagtail -  Western Isles
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Bird Overview - Pied Wagtail
Pipits & Wagtails
Latin name
Motacilla alba


Similar Species
One of the most distinctive of all European song birds with a combination of black, white and grey colours which give it it's name.

There are differences in the plumage of males and females and at different times of the year.

The male's summer plumage has a white forehead, cheeks and belly; jet-black crown, nape, throat, breast, back, flanks, tail and wings, but the tail has white outer feathers and the wings have white wing bars and white edges.

The non-breeding male's winter plumage is greyer - there is less black on the breast and the flank is grey. The female is mostly dark grey but the crown, throat, breast, rump and tail are black. Juveniles are brownish-grey and often tinged with yellow.

18 cm (7")
Pied Wagtails prefer habitats close to water, such as river banks and lake edges. However it can also be seen in farmland, moorland,

Pied Wagtails are elegant birds in constant motion, darting here and there to pick up tiny insects from the grass. In spring and summer they feed on small insects caught by active foraging on the ground or around water. Predator of thrips, beetles and ants.

When pied wagtails take to the wing they utter a distinctive two-syllable call


These little birds often roost in well lit, man made areas - such as streets, near buildings etc - or anywhere where there are a few trees, plenty of lightly to keep predators away - they also like the extra heat generated by the buildings.

Pied Wagtails build their nest in holes in walls, buildings, or old nests of larger birds.

Grass and mosses are used to construct the small cup-shaped nest. Eggs are pale grey with dark grey spots, smooth and glossy.

The male and female take turns incubating the eggs, and both adults feed the young.

Misc. Info
Typically these birds live to about 2 years old. THese birds are also known as the white wagtails. As the name 'wagtail' suggests the long tail is constantly wagging up and down, this is perhaps a signal to other wagtails or a warning to predators
Female Chaffinch- Western Isles
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