Pied Wagtail - Motacilla Alba

Pied Wagtail
(click to enlarge)
The Pied Wagtail is a widespread resident of this country. As it's name suggests, this bird is easily distinguished by it's wagging tail. It never stops, probably even when it's sleeping! It spends lots of time searching for insects on lawns, fields and roadside verges, seemingly not bothered by human activity. Doesn't hop but walks with a deliberate gait, head bobbing up and down, and speeds up dramatically when in pursuit of a meal. They also chase after flying
insects, and often adopt high perches on rooves to await passing food.

Identification
The male has a black back, whereas the female (pictured above), has a dark grey back. Both have a white underside, with a black throat and chest. However in winter this changes and the throat becomes white, with just a narrow black breast-band remaining. Utters a shrill "chisik" sound, the male has a song that is based on this call.

Nesting
Pied Wagtails build their nests in many different places, from ledges to eaves of old buildings. The open-cup shaped nests are made up of grass, roots and moss and cater for up to six fledglings. The young have a brownish-grey appearance, with a distinctive yellowish wash to the head and breast.

Food
Mainly insects, it will feed from scraps on bird tables.

Garden Tips
Will use an open-fronted nest box.