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Yellow wagtail

Motacilla flava

The yellow wagtail population in Finland has declined and is now considered an endangered species. Photo Jan Nyman.

General information. The yellow wagtail is a rare nester in Vaasa. Between 2005 and 2008 the species was confirmed in only a single location. The distribution is concentrated mainly to the northern parts of the country. During the last few decades the nesting population along the west coast has experienced a significant decline and in some places, for example Rauma, almost completely disappeared. The single most contributing factor to this decline is believed to be the abandonment of pastures and overgrowth of meadows. The Yellow wagtail is classified as an endangered species in Finland’s threat classification system.

  • Length 17 cm
  • Nests on the ground under vegetation cover
  • Winters in northeast Africa and the Middle East
  • Feeds on insects, spiders, mollusks and worms

Habitat. The yellow wagtail thrives in open marshland and other open landscapes such as waterside meadows and expansive farmlands.

Distribution in Vaasa. The yellow wagtail was observed during nesting season in only five survey blocks. Nesting was confirmed during the summer of 2007 in the landfill area in Suvilahti where a pair of yellow wagtail was aggressively defending the nest. Nesting could not be confirmed in other survey blocks.