Grey Wagtail
Motacilla cinerea

RSPB Conservation Status – Amber

Last seen – 28-1-23

The grey wagtail is easily recognizable by its striking yellow underparts, grey back and wings, and long tail.

The male and female birds are similar in appearance, but the male has brighter yellow underparts.




Population – 37,000 pairs

Length – 18 – 19 cm

Wingspan – 25 – 27 cm

Weight – 14 – 22 g


Grey wagtails breed in the UK between April and August, with females laying between 4-6 eggs.

The nests are built in crevices and holes in riverbanks, using grass, moss, and other materials.

Both parents incubate the eggs for around 14 days, and the chicks fledge after around 17 days.


Grey wagtails prefer fast-flowing rivers and streams with rocky beds and plenty of vegetation.

They can also be found near waterfalls and other areas with a high water flow.

The birds often nest in crevices and holes in riverbanks, and they require plenty of cover and vegetation to forage for food.

In winter they can be seen around farmyards and lowland streams,and even in city centres



Grey wagtails are primarily insect-eating birds, feeding on a range of aquatic invertebrates, including mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies.

They also eat small fish and crustaceans, providing essential protein for their young.

If you have seen a Grey Wagtail, please let us know via our survey page.