White Wagtail: Medium-sized wagtail, mostly white except for black upperparts and upper breast. All-white wing appears as a white wing patch when folded. The tail is black with white outer tail feathers that are conspicuous in flight and flicked continually when walking. Black bill, legs and feet.
Range and Habitat
White Wagtail: Eurasian native; rare visitor on the outer Aleutians and other Alaskan islands; sometimes occurs further east. Preferred habitats include rocky seashores, grasslands, lakes, and rivers.
The White Wagtail was originally described by Linnaeus in his 18th century work, Systema Naturae, and it still bears its original name of Motacilla alba.
The Latin genus name originally meant "little mover", but certain medieval writers though it meant "wag-tail", giving rise to a new Latin word, cilla, for "tail". The species name, alba, is Latin for "white".
Willy Wagtail was a colloquial name used on the Isle of Man, replacing the older name of ushag vreck.
A group of wagtails are collectively known as a "flock" of wagtails.
The White Wagtail is a small bird found throughout Europe and Asia, as well as part of north Africa. Most populations are permanent residents, but northern birds will migrate to Africa in winter months. The preferred habitat of this bird includes open country near bodies of water. It has adapted to foraging for food in urban areas as well. Nests are made in crevices of stone walls, both manmade and natural. Insects and small invertebrates make up a large part of their diet. The conservation rating for the White Wagtail is Least Concern.