Belongs to: wagtails

Compare with: grey wagtail

Yellow wagtail Motacilla flava

BoCC Red list

Best time to see: mid Apr to early Oct

Key facts

Slim, elegant yellow-green wagtail

Habitat: open damp grassland

Widespread summer visitor, absent only from the north-west chalklands of the county


Predominantly yellow with a dull green or yellow-green back; 16–17 cm

When walking on the ground, bounces its long white-edged, black tail; also perches openly on fences or bushes

Often feeds among grazing animals, snatching insects stirred up by their hooves


Arrive from West Africa in April and leave again in September or early October

Nest is a cup on the ground; 1 or 2 broods of 5–6 pale grey eggs sprinkled with yellow, May to June

© Alan Williams

© Alan Williams