The most familiar is the white wagtail with a combination of black crown and throat (or at least breast band).  This wagtail has white sides of the head, grey or blackish upperparts, and white underparts to prevent confusion with all but exceedingly localized African wagtails. The upper part coloration and facial pattern vary according to race. The majority of birds whose sides and foreheads are white. The juveniles are dingier overall and have a little black on the head. It is often merely a dark triangle on the breast. So, these may be confused with juvenile Citrine, especially when the plumage of the head is washed pale yellow in fresh plumage. But Citrine Wagtail has a shorter tail and a different call. The White-wagtail is a small passerine bird mainly found near water.
Their flight is strongly undulating, with a tail markedly long, but less so than in Grey. The tail wagged quite readily, especially when nervous. Forms flocks during passage or at winter roosts. Roosts are often in peculiar situations (e.g., trees in the center of busy cities, sprinklers of filter beds at sewage works, and inside buildings).
It is as much a town bird as it is a country bird, with a close association with human habitations. However, it is strongly attached to watersides but equally at home well away from water. This is the national bird of Latvia. This bird is threatened due to a food source and being kept as a pet. But a recent study shows that this bird sends a signal of vigilance to potential predators.
White-wagtail Call
The White Wagtail is a typical flight call: a loose ‘tslee-wee’ or ‘tsleevit’ (or other variant), often repeated. It also gives a short ‘tsit’ or ‘chick’, a harsh ‘chizzick’, and a more slurred ‘tzwerp’. The song consists of twittering phrases, interspersed with call notes. This is a slender and active white wagtail that is about 16 to 19cm in length and weighs about 25 g. This beautiful creature has an average life span of 8 to 10 years in the wild.
Taxonomy: Personata (Masked Wagtail) is occasionally treated as a full species. It is one of the birds that Linnaeus described in Systema Naturae, his 18th-century masterpiece. The white wagtail’s closest genetic relatives are such as the Japanese wagtail, White-browed Wagtail, and Mekong wagtail.
Sex/Age and Geographical Variation
It is considerable. 6 races (nominate, yarrellii, subpersonata, and personata illustrated). These may be allocated into four arbitrary groups for identification purposes:
White Wagtails:
In the summer season, the white-wagtail males have a black crown, throat, and upper breast, a white forehead and sides of the head, pale grey upper parts, and two white wing bars. However, the summer females are similar but duller, with dingier grey upper parts and black nape and grey mantle merging on the lower nape (black is more extensive and division cleaner on males).
Moreover, the winter males have a white chin and upper throat, leaving black as a band on the lower throat. The females lack or have very little black on the crown and nape. And, the sides of the head are washed dull grey and are closer to juveniles, but the chest band is blacker and is less brownish-grey.
Juveniles have most of their heads dull greyish, with whiter throats and dark grey-brown breast bands. The first winter is much like adult females in winter plumage, and aging is tricky. But young birds have grey of the crown and upper parts tinged olive and a creamy-yellow wash on the head in fresh plumage. Also, the young males have a blacker crown than the young females, which often lack any. 1st summer birds are often duller than full adults, and females may have a grey crown.
White Wagtail
White Wagtail
  1. Alba: Described above. Breeds over most of our region, including Iceland and occasionally Britain (especially Shetland and Orkney), except areas inhabited by other races, grading into Dukhunensis in the extreme east.
  2.  dukhunensis: Lower Volga and E Turkey eastwards. Very similar to alba, but paler grey above and with wider wing bars when fresh.
  3. persica: a rare winter visitor to Iraq from breeding grounds in Iran. Somewhat intermediate between alba and personata (Masked Wagtail), having a variable head pattern; usually resembles alba, but has a black band down the side of the upper neck connecting the crown and throat and more extensive white in the wing.
White-wagtail is an insectivorous bird, normally varies by location, but prefers aquatic insects, small invertebrates, beetles, dragonflies, spiders, small snails, crustaceans, worms, maggots, flies, and small fish. Sometimes migrate to further vegetable matter.
Pied Wagtail:
Pied Wagtail head pattern: white-wagtails. But in males’ upperparts, which are black or blackish, the blackness of the breast is more extensive. Also, the white wing bars are often wider but variable, and the flanks are darker grey. The females are dusky-grey above, darker than those of White; especially on the rump.
The winter adults and immatures are variable, as in White, some are difficult to separate from White, but the rump is always darker, the crown usually has some blackish (often lacking in White), and the flanks are markedly darker.
Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail
  1. yarrellii: Breeds British Is, and sparingly on the adjacent Continental coast from France to Germany. Disperses south as far as Morocco in winter.
Moroccan Wagtail:
The Moroccan Wagtail is a very distinctive race. The summer male bird differs from White in having a more complex head pattern. But the mostly black head, throat, and upper breast contrast with a white forehead.
The supercilium and ear coverts, white, broken by a black eye stripe, and have an isolated white patch at the sides of the neck. Moreover, the female bird is similar, but the black head is duller and more mottled. The winter adults have white throats but retain black chests and show narrow black moustachial lines bordering white-centered ear coverts.
But the juvenile and first winter are similar in head pattern to adult winter, but black of head and breast replaced by dark grey and white supercilium borders rear ear-coverts to meet white throat.
Moroccan Wagtail
Moroccan Wagtail
  1. subpersonata: local resident, chiefly in west-central Morocco.
Masked Wagtail:
The Masked Wagtail is a very distinctive race. A broad white fringe extending to the wing coverts forms a vast whiteness patch on the forewing. Adults have a black head, neck, and breast, with a mask formed by the white forehead, lore, eye-ring, and supercilium.
Females are slightly duller, with a more diffuse division of black on the nape than males. Winter birds attain white chins and black loral stripes. The juvenile and first-winter are duller, with black areas replaced by dark grey and more extensive white on the throat than adult winter.
The Masked Wagtail
The Masked Wagtail
  1. personata: Vagrant to the Middle East from E Iran and C Asia.
Status and Habitat Common (In addition to the mapped range, has bred Jan Mayen.) Often associated with human habitation or watersides, it may be found in a wide variety of open habitats, from seashores to farmland, industrial zones, mountainsides, and (in breeding season) tundra.
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