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Conservation status: Amber

The grey wagtail is more colourful than its name suggests with slate grey upper parts and distinctive lemon yellow under-tail. Its tail is noticeably longer than those of pied and yellow wagtails. They have gradually increased their range in the past 150 years and in the UK have expanded into the English lowlands from the northern and western uplands. They are badly affected by harsh winters, and because of recent moderate declines it is an Amber List species.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Motacilla cinerea

Family

Pipits and wagtails (Motacillidae)

Where to see them

Found over most of the UK, with the exception of the Northern and western isles of Scotland. Likes fast flowing rivers in summer their greatest densities are in the hills of England, Scotland and Wales. In winter they can be seen around farmyards and lowland streams, even in city centres. Scarce in central and eastern England in summer and from upland areas in winter.

When to see them

What they eat

Insects

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-38,000 pairs--

Distribution

Key

Audio

Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto