Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 162,000-373,000 pairs, which equates to 323,000-746,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.15% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 2,150,000-4,980,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. The global population is therefore here placed in the band 2,000,000-4,999,999 mature individuals. The population in China has been estimated at 100-10,000 breeding pairs and < 1,000 individuals on migration (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
The European population is estimated to be increasing (BirdLife International 2015). In the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats, the overall population is therefore estimated to be increasing.


This species occupies marshes, the edges of lakes, willow (Salix) thickets and wet rough grassland in tundra, also areas of willow bushes on mountain meadows and sometimes in fields near villages. It breeds from April to June, with breeding beginning later in the north. The nest is a cup of moss and plant leaves and stems, lined with hair, wool and feathers and sited on the ground in grassy vegetation. Typically it lays three to six eggs. The diet includes a wide variety of invertebrates, often aquatic, and their larvae. The species is migratory, wintering in the Indian subcontinent (Tyler and Kirwan 2016).


There are currently no known significant threats to this species.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

Bern Convention Appendix II.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Further research focusing on the status and threats to the European populations would help inform future conservation measures.


Text account compilers
Symes, A., Butchart, S., Ashpole, J, Ekstrom, J., Everest, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Motacilla citreola. Downloaded from on 21/09/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/09/2020.