The British Trust for Ornithology
GREY WAGTAIL
Motacilla cinerea
Grey Wagtail © Colin Varndell
 
Conservation Listings

Unlisted/Green
Biodiversity Steering Group Conservation Concern List

Long term trend
UK: Uncertain
Linear Waterways: Moderate decline
 
Status Summary
Grey Wagtail populations are densest in northern and western Britain, where the CBC and WBS do not provide representative coverage, but the WBS covers the species' habitat very well. The trends shown by both surveys are very similar to those for Pied Wagtail, notably featuring a rapid decline through the 1970s, but subsequently remaining stable. The similarity in the trends suggests that they may have similar causes. Grey Wagtail breeding performance has improved markedly over time, suggesting that it cannot be responsible for the decline, nor for holding the population constant subsequently. The change in the 12-day nestling stage failure rates is from 17% to 9%.
 
 
Table of population changes for Grey Wagtail
Source Period
(yrs)
Years Plots
(n)
Change
(%)
Lower
limit
Upper
limit
Alert Comment
CBC all habitats 31 1968-1999 18 78 0 544   Unrepresentative? small sample
  25 1974-1999 19 -12 -40 56   Unrepresentative? small sample
  10 1989-1999 19 22 -8 70   Unrepresentative? small sample
  5 1994-1999 19 20 -3 52   Unrepresentative? small sample
WBS waterways 24 1975-1999 57 -41 -55 -23 >25  
  10 1989-1999 64 -12 -24 4    
  5 1994-1999 65 2 -7 10    
BBS UK 6 1994-2000 148 41 15 74    
BBS England 6 1994-2000 93 36 6 75    
BBS Scotland 6 1994-2000 25 91 9 234   Small sample
BBS Wales 6 1994-2000 20 -34 -61 11   Small sample
The Breeding Bird Survey is jointly funded by BTO, JNCC and RSPB
 
 
Table of productivity information for Grey Wagtail
Variable Period
(yrs)
Years Mean
annual
sample
Trend Predicted
in first year
Predicted
in last year
Change Comment
Clutch size 31 1968-1999 43 Curvilinear 4.68 eggs 4.86 eggs 0.18 eggs  
Brood size 31 1968-1999 88 Linear increase 4.09 chicks 4.48 chicks 0.39 chicks  
Daily failure rate (eggs) 31 1968-1999 65 None        
Daily failure rate (chicks) 31 1968-1999 63 Curvilinear 0.015 nests/day 0.008 nests/day -0.007 nests/day  
Laying date 31 1968-1999 67 None        
 
Insufficient data on CES
available for this species




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This report should be cited as:
Baillie, S.R., Crick, H.Q.P., Balmer, D.E., Beaven, L.P., Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Leech, D.I., Marchant, J.H.,
Noble, D.G., Raven, M.J., Simpkin, A.P., Thewlis, R.M. and Wernham, C.V.
(2002) Breeding Birds in the Wider
Countryside: their conservation status 2001. BTO Research Report No. 278. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

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This page last updated: 21 April, 2008

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