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Length 17-20 cm (6Â¾-7Â¾ in), weight 14-22 g
Breeds from Europe, northwest Africa, and most of Asia east to Kamchatka, though absent from northeast Europe and northwest Asia between Sweden (where a recent colonist) and the Urals. In western Europe mainly sedentary, elsewhere migratory, wintering south-west to Gambia, south to Ethiopia, India and south-east to New Guinea.
Other authorities, including HBW, split three additional subspecies from the nominate:
Breeds by fast-flowing streams in rocky upland areas; more closely tied to running water than other wagtails. In winter, a little more widespread away from water, including in city centres.
Hyperactive, with constantly bobbing tail.
Undulating flight. Often hovers when feeding in the tree canopy and over water.
Aquatic and waterside invertebrates, including insects (often caught in flycatching sallies), small freshwater shrimps, and also occasionally small fish fry.
The nest is built in rock crevices, often next to (or even behind) a waterfall.
Call: a sharp tzt-tzt, much more incisive and harder than White Wagtail.
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