Grey Wagtail - Motacilla cinerea


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.

Identification difficulty

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.

When to see it

Scarce in central and eastern England in summer and from upland areas in winter.

Life History

They have gradually increased their range in the past 150 years and in the UK have expanded into the English lowlands from the uplands of the north and west. They are badly affected by harsh winters and because of recent moderate declines it is an Amber List species.

UK Status

Found over most of the UK, with the exception of the Northern and Western Isles of Scotland.

VC55 Status

An uncommon breeding bird in Leicestershire and Rutland

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map