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The Pied wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii) is the distinctive British and Irish race of the White Wagtail, a common bird in the rest of Europe. It is instantly recognisable, with its black and white plumage and its long tail that always seems to be on the move. In Europe, the white wagtail replaces the pied. It is a race of the same species, and has a pale grey rather than black back. Few groups of birds have as confusing names as the three British wagtails. In the winter a pied wagtail would be more aptly named a grey wagtail, while the latter species sports a splash of bright yellow that prompts many to think that it is really a yellow wagtail. Its country names include Polly washdish and dishwasher to the more familiar Penny wagtail, Willy wagtail and water wagtail.
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