The British Trust for Ornithology
PIED WAGTAIL
Motacilla alba
Pied Wagtail © Tommy Holden
 
Conservation Listings

Unlisted/Green
Biodiversity Steering Group Conservation Concern List

Long term trend
UK: Uncertain
Lowland England: Fluctuating after a moderate increase
Waterways: Moderate decline
 
Status Summary
Britain and Ireland together hold almost the entire population of the distinctive dark-backed race yarrellii, and so population changes in the UK are of special significance. Pied Wagtails are most abundant in northern and western areas that are not covered well by the CBC or WBS, but the two schemes show similar trends for birds that breed in lowland Britain. Abundance has been stable since the mid-1980s, but this stable period was preceded by a decade of decline that is most apparent in the WBS index, perhaps suggesting particular habitat influences specific to linear waterways. The CBC shows that a strong increase preceded this period of decline, such that populations have increased, overall, since 1966 and there have been no trends in breeding performance that could explain the population trends. Although average clutch size has declined a little and chick-stage failure rates show little overall change, failure rates at the egg stage (17 days, comprising 13 days incubation + 4 days laying) have fallen from 26% to 19%. The long-term trend in abundance is similar to those shown by Wren and Long-tailed Tit, two other resident insectivores (Siriwardena et al. 1998a).
 
 
Table of population changes for Pied Wagtail
Source Period
(yrs)
Years Plots
(n)
Change
(%)
Lower
limit
Upper
limit
Alert Comment
CBC all habitats 31 1968-1999 84 78 29 160   Unrepresentative
  25 1974-1999 86 2 -26 34   Unrepresentative
  10 1989-1999 75 20 4 42   Unrepresentative
  5 1994-1999 76 12 3 24   Unrepresentative
CBC farmland 31 1968-1999 58 77 25 175   Unrepresentative
  25 1974-1999 59 4 -23 60   Unrepresentative
  10 1989-1999 60 20 3 53   Unrepresentative
  5 1994-1999 61 14 3 34   Unrepresentative
WBS waterways 24 1975-1999 67 -48 -62 -36 >25  
  10 1989-1999 69 -15 -27 -1    
  5 1994-1999 71 -16 -24 -8    
BBS UK 6 1994-2000 951 25 16 34    
BBS England 6 1994-2000 721 28 18 39    
BBS Scotland 6 1994-2000 116 25 0 56    
BBS Wales 6 1994-2000 87 5 -17 33    
BBS N.Ireland 6 1994-2000 24 49 -19 176   Small sample
The Breeding Bird Survey is jointly funded by BTO, JNCC and RSPB
 
 
Table of productivity information for Pied Wagtail
Variable Period
(yrs)
Years Mean
annual
sample
Trend Predicted
in first year
Predicted
in last year
Change Comment
Clutch size 31 1968-1999 61 Linear decline 5.11 eggs 4.98 eggs -0.13 eggs  
Brood size 31 1968-1999 113 None        
Daily failure rate (eggs) 31 1968-1999 84 Linear decline 0.0177 nests/day 0.012 nests/day -0.0057 nests/day  
Daily failure rate (chicks) 31 1968-1999 91 Curvilinear 0.0149 nests/day 0.0127 nests/day -0.0022 nests/day  
Laying date 31 1968-1999 80 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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