Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)


Grey wagtails have a very long, black and white tail with a yellow rump and belly. They are grey above with black wings. Males have a grey face with a black throat bib and a white ‘moustache’. They can be distinguished from the similar yellow wagtail by the black bib (in males) and the grey back. They are between 17 and 20 centimetres long with a wingspan of around 26 centimetres.

During breeding season (April to July), the are near fast running streams or rivers on an embankment between stones and roots, and in the winter they roost in small groups, where they’re known to return to the same sites, sometimes a small urban garden each year.


Grey Wagtail may choose various types of habitat but all of these must have water present in the form of small streams, water courses, wells etc.


The grey wagtail feeds mainly on insects.

Protection status

This species is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

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