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Pied Wagtail

Pied Wagtail, Nest, Diet & Facts


18th January 2021

Pied Wagtail Identification

Length: 18cm.

The Pied Wagtail has a black crown, nape, chin and throat. The forehead and rest of the head is white, the mantle and scapulars are black and the under parts are white. Their flight feathers are greyish-black with white edges. They have a black bill and legs. The youngsters upper parts are brown-grey and the under parts are yellowish-white with greyer flanks and greyish throat. Their wing-feathers are edged with buff.
The Pied Wagtail is sociable and spends the night in communal roosts. It will often follow cattle and not infrequently perches on the backs of domestic stock.

What does a wagtail look like?

There are three types of wagtail commonly sighted in the UK. These are:

The grey wagtail, which has a grey upper body and a distinctive lemon yellow under-tail which is noticeably longer than other types of wagtails
The yellow wagtail, which is a distinctive yellow and green colour, with a medium-length tail and slender black legs
The pied wagtail, which is a long-tailed black and white bird. Their feathers can also be grey or cream in colour, and juvenile pied wagtails may have yellow colouring

Pied Wagtail Call

It has a distinctive high-pitched ‘tschissik’ or ‘tschissip’ and, also a ‘ tschik’. Their song is a combination of repeated twittering call-notes uttered both in flight and when perched.

Pied Wagtail Reproduction

These birds nest from mid-April onwards. Prefers their nests in holes or crevices in buildings, rocks, cliffs, trees etc. They will also nest on the ground and in old, abandoned nests. The nest consists of a mixture of dry grasses, lined with horsehair, wool and feathers. The female builds the nest alone.
Five or six, greyish to blue-white, eggs are laid. These are often speckled and streaked brownish and grey. The female incubates for a period of twelve to fourteen days. They young are tended by both parents and leave the nest after fourteen to fifteen days. Two or three broods in Southerly areas and normally one in the Northern regions.

Where do Wagtails Nest?

The Pied Wagtail likes farms, gardens, tundra, open country and inhabited areas. In winter they are found more often on farmland.

What do Wagtails Eat?

They eat insects and their larvae, small molluscs, worms and sometimes seeds.

Where to Feed
Feeder – Not suitable
Table – Not suitable
Ground – Scatter food in the open