RSPB
Skip navigation

Conservation status: Green

A delightful small, long-tailed and rather sprightly black and white bird. When not standing and frantically wagging its tail up and down it can be seen dashing about over lawns or car parks in search of food. It frequently calls when in its undulating flight and often gathers at dusk to form large roosts in city centres.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Motacilla alba

Family

Pipits and wagtails (Motacillidae)

Where to see them

They can be found across the UK, leaving some of the highland and northern areas of Scotland in winter. Best looked for near water and can be found in most habitats, even town centres. They gather together in large roosts, sometimes in towns, often assembling on roofs beforehand.

When to see them

All year round.

What they eat

Insects

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-470,000 pairs--

Distribution

Key

Audio

Tomas Belka, Xeno-canto