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Wagtails are elegant birds with, as their name suggests, long tails that they frequently wag up and down when on the ground. Only the pied wagtail is resident in Essex, nesting around farm buildings or sewage farms where insect food is plentiful. The yellow wagtail visits in summer, breeding on damp grassland close to water. It is widespread across the south and east of Essex, but declining.

Very few grey wagtails breed in Essex, their favoured sites being near fast-flowing water, such as mill races or weirs, and you are more likely to see them on passage south during late summer and autumn.

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