Pied Wagtail - Motacilla alba


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.

Identification difficulty

They can be found across the UK, leaving some of the highland and northern areas of Scotland in winter. Can be found in most habitats, even town centres.

When to see it

All year round

Life History

This is an insectivorous bird of open country, often near habitation and water. It prefers bare areas for feeding, where it can see and pursue its prey. In urban areas it has adapted to foraging on paved areas such as car parks. It nests in crevices in stone-walls and similar natural and man-made structures.

UK Status

Common and widespread in Britain

VC55 Status

Common as a 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