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a genus of birds of the family Motacillidae, order Passeres. The body is 16.5–18 cm long, and the bird has a long tail that constantly wags up and down. The coloring is white or yellow, combined with gray and black. A total of 11 species, several of which are migratory, are encountered in Europe, Asia, and Africa. There are five species in the USSR: the white wagtail (M. alba), the gray wagtail (M. cinérea), the yellow wagtail (M. flava), M. lutea, and the yellow-headed wagtail (M. citreola).
Birds of this genus inhabit damp meadows and swamps, areas near streams, and the lower and higher elevations of mountains. The white wagtail, which is often found near human dwellings, frequently nests in buildings, while other species make their nests on the ground. There are four to six eggs in a clutch. The brooding period is 12–15 days. Members of the genus feed on insects and other small invertebrates. Two related genera, Tmeto-thylacus and Macronyx, which has nine species, occur in the southern half of Africa.