Belongs to: wagtails

Compare with: grey wagtail

Pied wagtail Motacilla alba

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Black-and-white wagtail with distinctive bouncing walk

Habitat: open habitats, especially near livestock buildings and sewage farms, also golf courses

Widespread resident


Black back and white face with black tail edged with white; 17–18 cm

Often seen walking on the ground with bouncing tail, picking up flying insects

In the winter sometimes form mass roosting parties of hundreds of birds


Nest is in a cavity or ledge on a building or a bank, lined with hair, feathers and wool; sometimes uses an old nest

2 broods of 5–6 grey eggs, speckled brown, April to June

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