Darting amongst low vegetation, the citrine wagtail forages for a variety of insect prey. Typically it walks along the water’s edge, picking prey off the low vegetation, but it may also wade into shallow water to consume insects floating on the water surface (2) (4).
The timing of breeding varies across the species’ range, but it generally breeds between April and June. Breeding pairs are monogamous and highly territorial, and the breeding territory is used for both nesting and feeding. Both birds defend this area with defence flights and by frequently calling from perches around the territory boundary (2) (4). The female bird builds a fairly open, cup-shaped nest out of moss and plant material and lines it with hair, wool and feathers (2). It is placed on the ground, usually under a tussock of grass or a bush, and while the female builds the nest, the male brings nest material and closely guards the female (4) (5). A clutch of 3 to 6 eggs is laid and incubated for 14 to 15 days by both adult birds. The chicks remain in the nest for 10 to 13 days before fledging (2).
To avoid unfavourable weather conditions, before the onset of winter the citrine wagtail migrates southwards to the tropical Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Typically it leaves the northern breeding grounds between August and October, arriving back at these sites from March the next year. Whilst migrating, it travels in large flocks and may gather in communal roosts with other species of wagtail (2).