Wagtail, or Motacilla, L. a genus of native birds, consisting of two species, namely :

1. The alba, or White Wagtail, frequents the sides of ponds and rivulets: its head, back, and neck, are black ; the breast and belly white ; its long tail being always in motion.

2. The flava, or Yellow Wag-tail, continues in Hampshire for the greater part of the year ; and migrates also to the northern parts of Britain. - The male of this species is a bird of exquisite beauty : its breast, belly, thighs, and vent-feathers, being of a very bright yellow ; the throat is marked with large black spots; the head, and upper surface of the body, are of an olive-green ; and the tail is partly white and black.

These birds construct their nests on theground, in corn-fields; where the female lays from 4 to 7 white eggs, and generally broods twice in the year.

Wagtails feed on worms and insects, which they pursue to the edge of waters : in the spring and autumn, they constantly follow the plough for that purpose; and their breed ought, therefore, by every possible means to be encouraged.