Grey Wagtail

Scientific Name: Motacilla cinerea
Malay Name: Pipit-Batu Pinggul Kuning
Chinese Name: 灰鹡鸰

Found from NW Africa to NE Russia, northern Middle East, northern India, northern China, Korea and Japan with some populations wintering south to Africa, Middle East, Indian subcontinent, southern China and Southeast Asia.

Polytypic. Subspecies are: patriciae, schmitzi, cinerea.

Local Subspecies: cinerea

Size: 17-20 cm

Non-breeding adult shows slaty-grey crown and upperparts, narrow whitish supercilium. Amount of yellow on underparts can be variable but generally retains bright yellow vent. Breeding male has all yellow underparts and distinctive black throat and upper breast. Juvenile resembles non-breeding adult but browner-tinged above. Compared to Eastern Yellow Wagtail in non-breeding plumage, has grey mantle, contrasting yellow rump and pinkish legs.

Similar looking species: Citrine Wagtail, Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Habitat: Fast flowing rocky streams and rivers, also wetlands and coasts in winter.

Behaviour/Ecology: Feeds on a variety of aquatic invertebrates including adult flies, mayflies, beetles, crustacea and molluscs. Has the longest tail of the wagtails and its tail is wagged continually.

Local Status: Uncommon passage migrant/winter visitor. An early migratory species, it has been observed between late July to March.

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2017)

Location: Along streams, ponds, drains and canals in Singapore. Found at Bukit Batok West, Rifle Range Link, Jurong Lake Garden, Buona Vista, Bishan Park and Admiralty Park.


External Links:
Conservation Status: IUCN Red List Page
Photos: Oriental Bird Images
Sound Recordings: xeno-canto Link
Wikipedia Entry: Wikipedia Link
eBird Species page: eBird (Gray Wagtail)

BirdLife International. (2017). Motacilla cinerea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017. Accessed on 19 December 2021

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

Wells, D. R. (1999). The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula (Vol. 1). Academic Press, London.