WHITE WAGTAIL

WHITE WAGTAIL (Motacilla alba) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The White Wagtail breeding male has a white forehead and head sides. Head cap, back nape, chin, throat and breast are black. Upper parts are grey, with additional white and black markings on the upper wings. Tail is long and grey edged in white. Under parts are white. Eyes and bill are black, legs and feet are grey. Female has duller colors. Non-breeding adults have an olive grey cap and nape, and throat is white. Immature is greyish on top and whitish under. Bird length is about 18 cm (7 inches). There are around ten subspecies.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Motacilla-alba
NAME: ‘Wagtail’ refers to the tail movements. Latin genus name ‘Motacilla’ means the same. Latin species name ‘alba’ means white.
HABITAT: Open areas such as fields, parks, near water or wetlands.
DIET: Terrestrial and aquatic insects, invertebrates such as crustaceans, worms, snails and small fish.
NESTING: Nest is a loose cup-shaped structure in a crevice or other cavity, which can be natural or man-made. It is usually located near water bodies. Between four and six creamy eggs are laid, incubated by both parents, who also both feed the young.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in northern Europe and Asia, and western Alaska. Year-round resident in remaining Europe, Japan and eastern China. Winters in north half of Africa and south Asia.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_wagtail#/media/File:White_wagtail_distribution.PNG
CONSERVATION: Population widespread and in the 200 million range, not considered at risk.
NOTES: It is not known why this species, and all wagtails, constantly wag their tails.
The white wagtail is the National Bird of Latvia.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Japanese Wagtail
REFERENCES: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_wagtail
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/white-wagtail
https://community.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/f/identify-this/97028/pied-or-white-wagtail (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)
https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/271/overview/White_Wagtail.aspx
http://www.oiseaux-birds.com/card-white-wagtail.html
http://www.india-birds.com/whitewagtail.aspx
https://www.monaconatureencyclopedia.com/motacilla-alba/?lang=en
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/linnut/white-wagtail (Nature Gate Finland)

White Wagtail - Deltebre, Spain - June 25, 2017 - photo by Roberta Palmer
White Wagtail – Deltebre, Spain – June 25, 2017 – photo by Roberta Palmer
White Wagtail, female, 1st summer - June 2012 - photo by Andreas Trepte
White Wagtail, female, 1st summer – June 2012 – photo by Andreas Trepte
White Wagtail - Biebrza National Park, Poland - May 2005 - photo by Artur Mikolajewski
White Wagtail – Biebrza National Park, Poland – May 2005 – photo by Artur Mikolajewski
White Wagtail parent with juvenile - Astana, Kazakhstan - June 2013 - photo by Ken and Nyetta
White Wagtail parent with juvenile – Astana, Kazakhstan – June 2013 – photo by Ken and Nyetta

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