Motacilla alba


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Motacilla alba
Species Authority: Linnaeus, 1758
Common Name(s):
English White Wagtail, Pied Wagtail and White Wagtail
French Bergeronnette grise
Taxonomic Notes: Motacilla alba and M. lugens (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) have been lumped into M. alba following AOU (2005). Motacilla alba (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) was split by Sangster et al. (1998) into M. alba, M. alboides, M. baicalensis, M. leucopsis, M. ocularis, M. personata and M. subpersonata but this treatment is not followed by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group because no vocal, morphological or phylogenetic evidence is provides by Sangster et al. (1998) and Alström et al. (2003) notes that all contiguously distributed subspecies of M. alba interbreed. Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993) and Sangster et al. (1998) also split M. lugens from M. alba but these taxa are also lumped following AOU (2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2014-07-24
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A. & Temple, H.
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
2012 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belarus; Belgium; Benin; Bhutan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Cambodia; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Central African Republic; Chad; China; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Greenland; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Hong Kong; Hungary; Iceland; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Latvia; Lebanon; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macao; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malaysia; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Mexico; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Myanmar; Nepal; Netherlands; Niger; Nigeria; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; San Marino; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia (Serbia); Sierra Leone; Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Somalia; South Sudan; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Tajikistan; Thailand; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States (Georgia); Uzbekistan; Viet Nam; Western Sahara; Yemen
Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Burundi; Canada; Comoros; Gabon; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Seychelles; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Trinidad and Tobago
Present - origin uncertain:
Guam; Rwanda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Rich et al. (2004) estimated the global population to number 200,000 individuals. In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 13000000-26000000 breeding pairs, equating to 39000000-78000000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004). Europe forms 5-24% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 163000000-1560000000 individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
For further information about this species, see 22718348_motacilla_alba.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Citation: BirdLife International 2014. Motacilla alba. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 31 August 2015.
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