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Grey wagtail


Common name Grey wagtail
Scientific name Motazilla cinerea
Type Waterbirds
Status Resident

Small terrestrial bird (about 19 cm or 7.5 in) with a characteristic long tail of grey and yellow tones that it usually moves rhythmically. Long legs. Dorsal plumage of brown tones and yellow in the ventral area. Grey head with black throat and bib. White moustachial stripe and eyebrow. Dark wings. The female has white bib and throat and the belly is less yellow. The males lose in winter the black bib and throat, too.


River and riverside

Where it lives

Streams with running water and rocky bottoms, small waterfalls and humid climate. Preference for mountain areas with good tree coverage. In winter it also uses ponds and aquatic systems with calmer waters.

How it lives

Species resident in the province all year round. The breeding begins in March. It makes two annual layings of 4 to 6 eggs. Nest in cracks of slopes or under bridges located in the streams where it lives. This bird feeds on insects, both terrestrial and aquatic.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Species less frequent than the rest of wagtails, but usual in the province. In the Great Path it can be watched in stages 4, 5, 12, 24, 25, 27 and 28, for example.

Curious facts

This "pipita" (vernacular name of wagtails in Malaga) is associated with streams of clean and moving water. The species is called in Spanish "lavandera cascadeña", which in English means "cascade washerwoman". As the name suggests, it is easier to see in the proximity of small cascades and waterfalls.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration