First Confirmed Breeding Records of Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea Tunstall, 1771 (Passeriformes: Motacillidae) in Cyprus

Savvas Iezekiel, Kyriakos Dimitriou, Dimitrios E. Bakaloudis, Evangelos G. Kotsonas, Marios Aristophanous, Reuven Yosef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we describe first breeding of Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea in Cyprus. Twenty-three nests were found during the 2020 and 2021 breeding seasons in riparian habitats adjacent to major river systems in the Paphos State Forest. Most nests were located on roadside banks at a height of 2.38 m above the ground and at a distance of about 0-10 m from the river. Nests consisted of grassy cups with a mean diameter of 13.39 cm, while the nest cup itself had a mean diameter of 7.07 cm and a depth of 3.41 cm. Twelve nesting attempts were monitored with females laying eggs between early April and early July. A total of 54 eggs were laid and 44 nestlings were successfully raised from the 12 nests. The mean clutch size was 4.5 eggs per nest, the mean number of hatched eggs was 3.92 and the mean number of fledglings was 3.67. Parents fed their young mostly on invertebrates and in particular on insects. Diptera and Odonata were the most common insect Orders comprising the majority of prey items. Average insect prey size was 10.79 mm (range 2-60 mm), with little difference in prey size between that delivered by males and females. This study confirms the first breeding of the species in Cyprus, where it follows a breeding pattern similar to that in other parts of Western Palearctic range. The affinity of the Grey Wagtail to human structures and the low predation rate highlight the successful breeding potential and the future range expansion of the species across the island of Cyprus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalOrnithological Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 26 Jul 2023


  • Breeding success
  • Cyprus
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Nest sites
  • Nestling diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'First Confirmed Breeding Records of Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea Tunstall, 1771 (Passeriformes: Motacillidae) in Cyprus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this