The Grey Wagtail is a small passerine bird that belongs to the family Motacillidae. It is a slender bird that measures about 7.5 inches in length and weighs between 0.4 to 0.7 ounces. The bird has a long, thin tail that it constantly pumps up and down while foraging on the ground or perched on a rock near a stream. The wagtail has a slim bill that it uses to catch small invertebrates and other prey. Its wings are dark with a white patch and its back is slate grey.
One of the distinguishing field marks of the Grey Wagtail is its bright yellow underparts. The bird’s yellow breast and belly are unmistakable, and it also has a yellow rump. The wagtail has a distinctive call that sounds like “chiswick” and it can often be heard near streams or rivers. The wagtail’s wingspan is around 10 inches.
The Grey Wagtail is found across Europe and Asia, from Scandinavia to Japan. In the summer, it breeds in upland areas and mountain streams across its range. During the winter, the wagtail migrates south to warmer areas, including the Mediterranean, North Africa, and parts of Asia. Some Grey Wagtails also migrate to the British Isles during the winter.
In terms of habitat, the Grey Wagtail is usually found near fast-flowing streams or rivers in upland areas. It prefers to forage on the ground or on rocks near water, where it can catch small invertebrates and other prey. The wagtail is also known to nest near water, building a cup-shaped nest from moss, grass, and other materials.
Overall, the Grey Wagtail is a charming and distinctive bird that can be easily spotted near streams and rivers. Its bright yellow underparts and slim, long tail make it easy to identify, and its cheerful call is a familiar sound in many upland areas. While it is migratory, the Grey Wagtail is a fairly common bird across its range and is not currently considered to be at risk.