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White wagtail


Common name White wagtail
Scientific name Motacilla alba
Type Waterbirds
Status Wintering

Small terrestrial bird (about 18 cm or 7 in) with a characteristic long black tail, constantly wagging. Grey upperparts, white underparts and black wings with white stripes. Black head (throat and nape) and white face (forehead and flanks of the face). Black legs and bill.


Wetlands and Urban environments

Where it lives

Present in different types of habitats, most of them linked to water. Wet meadows, farmlands, coastal shores, banks, reservoirs, lagoons, temporary ponds, parks and gardens and even the urban environment.

How it lives

Species present in the province all year round mostly as a wintering bird, although there are individuals which come to breed during the summer months and also birds in migratory passage. It breeds from April with up to three layings of 4 to 6 eggs. Nest in hollows of slopes and banks. Insectivore that forages actively, pecking on the ground, and in groups. Very linked to the ground and walker with a typical swing of the tail.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Frequent and abundant throughout the province. Easy to watch at any point along the Coastal Path.

Curious facts

White “pipitas”, as they are known in Malaga, are associated with cold and rain because they are seen more frequently in winter, when there are more specimens due to the arrival of wintering ones. In Germany, this bird is considered the patron of brewers because the aroma of its preparation attracted them to the factories where they took advantage of the residues of the yeast as food.

Routes where it can be observed
Wintering Summer Resident Migration