White wagtail

Wagging tail

A white wagtail on a rock © the City of Helsinki materialbank, Marianne Saviaho

The white wagtail (Motacilla alba) is originally a coastal species that favours rocky areas. In Helsinki, it is the bird species that has spread the most evenly to all areas. It is equally at home on beaches, piers, small islands, by the roadside and in yards. Just about the only places where you won’t run into white wagtails are ordinary forests.

The white wagtail needs level surfaces to walk on, characteristically wagging its tail as it does, and chasing after insects. It builds its nest among rocks or in a building.