Yellow Wagtail

Scientific name: Motacilla flava

Did you know: The Yellow Wagtail has eight unique subspecies across Europe, each with distinctively coloured male heads!

What Do Yellow Wagtails Look Like? (how to identify them)

The Yellow Wagtail, a small and sprightly bird, enchants with its olive-green upperparts and vibrant yellow underparts. It’s known for its distinctive, constantly moving tail, which adds to its charm. These birds are identifiable by their slender black legs and a medium-length tail, making them a picturesque sight as they scurry across the ground.

Differences Between Male And Female Yellow Wagtails

In the world of Yellow Wagtails, the males are the showstoppers with their brighter yellow hues compared to the females. This subtle difference helps bird watchers distinguish between the two.

What Do Yellow Wagtails Eat?

Yellow Wagtails are insectivores, primarily feasting on small insects like beetles and flies. They have a unique way of foraging, often seen chasing their prey in meadows and marshes, a delightful sight indeed!

Where Do Yellow Wagtails Live? (inc. migration info)

These birds are summer visitors to the UK, favouring grasslands and wet pastures for breeding. They migrate to Africa during the winter months. Unfortunately, their numbers have been declining, making their presence in the UK increasingly special.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Yellow Wagtails)

The Yellow Wagtail’s song is a melodic treat, often heard during their breeding season in the UK. Their calls are an integral part of the serene summer soundscapes in rural areas.

Fun Yellow Wagtail Facts (kid friendly)

  • Yellow Wagtails can wag their tails while running!
  • They love to follow cattle around, as these large animals help stir up insects for them to eat.
  • These birds build their nests on the ground, using grass and stems, and line them with soft fur.
  • There are up to eight different subspecies of Yellow Wagtails in Europe, each with distinct head colours.
  • Despite their small size, they migrate thousands of miles between the UK and Africa.
  • They are part of the Red List of birds of conservation concern due to their declining numbers.
  • The average lifespan of a Yellow Wagtail is about three years.
  • Sadly, they are now extinct as a breeding bird in Ireland.

Yellow Wagtail Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Yellow Wagtail

Diet: Small insects, including flies and beetles.
Bird Family: Pipits and wagtails
Length: 17cm
Wingspan: 23-27cm
Weight: 16-22g
Scientific Name: Motacilla flava

The Yellow Wagtail Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October