noun \ˈwag-ˌtāl\

: a small European bird that has a long tail which regularly moves up and down

Full Definition of WAGTAIL

:  any of various chiefly Old World oscine birds (family Motacillidae) related to the pipits and having a long tail that they habitually jerk up and down

First Known Use of WAGTAIL



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Gray wagtail (Motacilla cinerea).—H. Reinhard/Bruce Coleman Inc.

Any of about 12 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.


Next Word in the Dictionary: wagtail flycatcher
Previous Word in the Dictionary: wagonyard
All Words Near: wagtail

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up wagtail? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).