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Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass 16.3 g


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 16,600,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Stable Suspected -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 4.7 - - -
Population justification: In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 740,000-1,600,000 breeding pairs, equating to 2,220,000-4,800,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004). Europe forms 5-24% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 9,250,000-96,000,000 individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. National population estimates include: c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs, c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in China; c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan; c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Korea; c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
Trend justification: The population is suspected to be stable overall in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. In Europe, trends since 1980 show that populations have undergone a moderate increase (p<0.05), based on provisional data for 21 countries from the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (EBCC/RSPB/BirdLife/Statistics Netherlands; P. Vorisek in litt. 2008).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Afghanistan Native Extant Yes      
Albania Native Extant Yes      
Algeria Native Extant        
Andorra Native Extant       Yes
Armenia Native Extant Yes      
Australia Vagrant Extant        
Austria Native Extant       Yes
Azerbaijan Native Extant       Yes
Bahrain Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Bangladesh Native Extant        
Belarus Vagrant Extant        
Belgium Native Extant       Yes
Bhutan Native Extant        
Bosnia and Herzegovina Native Extant Yes      
Botswana Vagrant Extant        
Brunei Native Extant        
Bulgaria Native Extant       Yes
Cambodia Native Extant        
Cameroon Vagrant Extant        
Canada Vagrant Extant        
Central African Republic Native Extant        
China (mainland) Native Extant Yes      
Christmas Island (to Australia) Native Extant        
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Native Extant        
Croatia Native Extant       Yes
Cyprus Native Extant   Yes    
Czech Republic Native Extant       Yes
Denmark Native Extant     Yes Yes
Djibouti Native Extant        
Egypt Native Extant        
Eritrea Native Extant        
Estonia Native Extant Yes      
Ethiopia Native Extant        
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Native Extant Yes      
Finland Native Extant Yes      
France Native Extant     Yes Yes
Georgia Native Extant Yes      
Germany Native Extant     Yes Yes
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant   Yes    
Greece Native Extant     Yes Yes
Guam (to USA) Vagrant Extant        
Guinea-Bissau Native Extant        
Hong Kong (China) Native Extant        
Hungary Native Extant       Yes
Iceland Native Extant Yes      
India Native Extant Yes      
Indonesia Native Extant        
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant       Yes
Iraq Native Extant     Yes Yes
Ireland Native Extant       Yes
Israel Native Extant        
Italy Native Extant       Yes
Japan Native Extant Yes      
Jordan Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Kazakhstan Native Extant Yes      
Kenya Native Extant        
Kuwait Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Kyrgyzstan Native Extant Yes      
Laos Native Extant        
Latvia Native Extant Yes      
Lebanon Native Extant     Yes Yes
Libya Native Extant        
Liechtenstein Native Extant       Yes
Luxembourg Native Extant       Yes
Macao (China) Native Extant        
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant       Yes
Malawi Native Extant        
Malaysia Native Extant        
Maldives Vagrant Extant        
Mali Native Extant        
Malta Native Extant   Yes    
Mauritania Native Extant        
Micronesia, Federated States of Vagrant Extant        
Mongolia Native Extant Yes      
Montenegro Native Extant Yes      
Morocco Native Extant        
Myanmar Native Extant        
Namibia Vagrant Extant        
Nepal Native Extant Yes      
Netherlands Native Extant       Yes
Niger Vagrant Extant        
North Korea Native Extant Yes      
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) Vagrant Extant        
Norway Native Extant Yes      
Oman Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Pakistan Native Extant        
Palau Vagrant Extant        
Philippines Native Extant        
Poland Native Extant Yes      
Portugal Native Extant       Yes
Qatar Native Extant     Yes  
Romania Native Extant       Yes
Russia Native Extant Yes      
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (European) Native Extant Yes      
Rwanda Native Extant        
Saudi Arabia Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Senegal Vagrant Extant        
Serbia Native Extant Yes      
Seychelles Vagrant Extant        
Singapore Native Extant        
Slovakia Native Extant       Yes
Slovenia Native Extant       Yes
Somalia Native Extant        
South Africa Vagrant Extant        
South Korea Native Extant Yes      
South Sudan Native Extant   Yes    
Spain Native Extant       Yes
Sri Lanka Native Extant        
Sudan Native Extant        
Sweden Native Extant       Yes
Switzerland Native Extant       Yes
Syria Native Extant     Yes Yes
Taiwan (China) Native Extant Yes      
Tajikistan Native Extant Yes      
Tanzania Native Extant        
Thailand Native Extant        
Timor-Leste Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Tunisia Native Extant        
Turkey Native Extant       Yes
Turkmenistan Native Extant Yes      
Uganda Native Extant        
Ukraine Native Extant Yes      
United Arab Emirates Native Extant   Yes Yes  
United Kingdom Native Extant       Yes
USA Vagrant Extant        
Uzbekistan Native Extant Yes      
Vietnam Native Extant        
Yemen Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Zambia Vagrant Extant        
Zimbabwe Vagrant Extant        

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Wastewater Treatment Areas Suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land Suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas Suitable non-breeding
Grassland Temperate Suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) Major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) Major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) Major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) Major non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 4100 m Occasional altitudinal limits  


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Food (human) Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent
Sport Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - - Subsistence, National
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - - Subsistence, National
Food - human - - - Subsistence, National

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Motacilla cinerea. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Motacillidae (Wagtails and pipits)
Species name author Tunstall, 1771
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 16,600,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment