wagtail


wagtail
/wag"tayl'/, n.
1. any of numerous small, chiefly Old World birds of the family Motacillidae, having a slender body with a long, narrow tail that is habitually wagged up and down.
2. any of several similar birds, as the water thrushes of the genus Seiurus.
[1500-10; WAG + TAIL1]

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Any of 7–10 passerine species in the genus Motacilla and the forest wagtail (Dendronanthus indicus) of Asia.

Wagtails continually pump their long tail up and down; the forest wagtail wags its entire body from side to side. They inhabit beaches, meadows, and streamsides, nesting on the ground and roosting in trees. Males of the white, or pied, wagtail (M. alba), common across Eurasia, are white and gray or white and black. The only New World species, the yellow wagtail (M. flava), breeds in Alaska and migrates to Asia.

Gray wagtail (Motacilla cinerea).

H. Reinhard-Bruce Coleman Inc.

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bird
      any of the 7 to 10 species of the bird genus Motacilla, of the family Motacillidae, together with the forest wagtail (Dendronanthus indicus) of Asia. Wagtails are strongly patterned birds of beaches, meadows, and streamsides; they usually nest on the ground but roost in trees. The birds are so named because they incessantly wag their long tails up and down. The forest wagtail wags its entire body from side to side. Males of the white wagtail (Motacilla alba), common across Eurasia, are variably white and gray or white and black. The variety in Britain is called pied wagtail. The only species reaching the New World is the yellow wagtail (M. flava, sometimes Budytes flavus), which breeds in Alaska and migrates to Asia.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:
, , (Mergus merganser or Mergus castor) /


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • wagtail — ► NOUN ▪ a slender songbird with a long tail that is frequently wagged up and down …   English terms dictionary

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  • Wagtail — For the nuclear missile, see Wagtail (missile). Wagtails African Pied Wagtail Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • wagtail —    ‘Thou wagtail’ was a commonly used vocative in the seventeenth century. Applied to a young man it was usually contemptuous, applied to a woman it was always contemptuous, and was roughly equivalent to calling her a whore.    The term is in no… …   A dictionary of epithets and terms of address

  • wagtail — UK [ˈwæɡˌteɪl] / US noun [countable] Word forms wagtail : singular wagtail plural wagtails a small bird with a long tail that quickly moves up and down when the bird walks …   English dictionary

  • wagtail — [[t]wæ̱gteɪl[/t]] wagtails N COUNT A wagtail is a type of small bird which moves its tail quickly up and down as it walks …   English dictionary

  • wagtail — noun a slender songbird with a long tail that is frequently wagged up and down. [Motacilla alba (pied wagtail) and other species.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • wagtail — /ˈwægteɪl / (say wagtayl) noun 1. any of numerous small, chiefly Eurasian birds of the family Motacillidae, having a slender body with a long, narrow tail which is habitually wagged up and down; a number of species are irregular migrants or… …   Australian English dictionary

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