White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)



The White Wagtail is a songbird and common breeder in most of Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. The White Wagtail is a rather slender bird with a narrow, black and white tail which is contantly in an up-and-down motion (wagging). Very remarkably is the Wagtail's ability to properly walk by making larger steps. We can also watch this bird when it is almost running across the ground. While walking it constantly jerks its head.


The black crown and nape sharply border against the ash-grey mantle, whereas forehead and forecrown are white. The Wagtails back and part of the wings are black, as well as breast, chin and throat.


The White Wagtail is at home in various habitats such as open cultivated country, marshland, on the edges of reed zones, dunes, beaches, on farmyards, lakesides, villages and in any sort of large urban areas. White Wagtails can also frequently being watched on beaches where they find plenty of feed und seaweeds.



white wagtail
White Wagtail


Bird Facts: White Wagtail


Breeding – Clutch – Measurements – Habitat – Food - Threats



Order: Passerines (Passeriformes)

Family: Motacillidae

Genus: Motacilla

Species: White Wagtail


Scientific Name: Motacilla [alba] alba


Names and Synonymes of the White Wagtail


Name in German: Bachstelze

Name in Czech: Konipas bílý

Name in Slovak: Trasochvost biely

Name in Hungarian: Barázdabillegető

Name in Croat: Bijela pastirica

Name in French: Bergeronnette grise

Name in Spanish: Lavandera blanca

Name in Portuguese: Alvéola-branca

Name in Italian: Ballerina bianca

Name in Dutch: Witte Kwikstaart

Name in Finish: Västäräkki

Name in Norwegian: Witte Kwikstaart

Name in Danish: Hvid Vipstjert

Name in Swedish: Sädesärla

Name in Polnisch: Pliszka siwa

Name in Russian: Белая трясогузка

Name in Greek: Λευκοσουσουράδα, Λευκοσουσουράδα

Name in Turkey: Ak Kuyruksallayan, Ak Kuyruksallayan


Distribution – Movements – Habitat – Behaviour