* Hind claw moderate; much curved.
Plumage variegated with black and white.
M. alba, Temm. Man. dOrn. torn. I. p. 255. Pied Wagtail, Selb. Illust. vol. I. p. 251. pl. 49. f. I. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. I. p. 226. White Wagtail, Mont. Orn. Diet.
Entire length seven inches five lines: length of the bill (from the forehead) six lines, (from the gape) eight lines; of the tarsus eleven lines; of the hind toe, claw included, seven lines; of the tail three inches four lines and a half; from the carpus to the end of the wing three inches four lines: breadth, wings extended, ten inches nine lines.
(Adult in summer plumage). Forehead, cheeks, and sides of the neck, white; crown of the head, nape, throat, breast, and upper part of the body, black; belly and vent white: quills and greater wing-coverts edged with white: the two outer tail-feathers nearly all white: the others black: bill black: irides dusky. (Winter plumage). Throat and fore part of the neck white: a crescent-shaped black patch on the upper part of the breast: all the upper parts inclining to blackish gray. (Young of the year). Crown of the head, and all the upper parts, ash-gray, inclining to bluish gray; wing-coverts broadly edged and tipped with white: on the upper part of the breast a crescent-shaped patch of dusky ash, the horns of the crescent extending upwards to the ears in a narrow line on each side of the neck; throat, cheeks, under part of the neck, and lower part of the breast, dirty white: abdomen nearly pure white: quills blackish, with an oblong white spot on their inner webs. (Egg). White, speckled with ash-colour: long. diam. nine lines; trans, diam. seven lines.
A common and well-known species, frequenting pastures and newly ploughed lands, more especially those in the vicinity of water. Runs with great celerity, and occasionally wades in shallow streams in pursuit of aquatic insects. Migrates in the North of England, but is stationary in the southern counties. Nest on the ground, or in the holes of trees and old buildings; composed of moss, fibres, and wool, and lined with hair. Eggs four or five.