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GALLERIES > BIRDS > PASSEROIDEA > MOTACILLIDAE > WHITE-BROWED WAGTAIL [Motacilla madaraspatensis]


White-browed Wagtail Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

The White-browed Wagtail, also known as the Large Pied Wagtail, Motacilla madaraspatensis, is a medium-sized passerine bird in the wagtail family Motacillidae, which also includes the pipits and longclaws. The species name is derived from the Indian city of Madras, which is now known as Chennai.

Distribution and habitat

The White-browed Wagtail is a resident breeder in India and is endemic to the Indian subcontinent. It is rare in the higher altitude regions but has been seen in Ladakh. It is found in open freshwater wetland habitats. It is one of the few Motacilla wagtails that has adapted well to urban habitats and is often found perched on overhead water storages in residential buildings.

near Hodal in Faridabad District of Haryana, India. near Hodal in Faridabad District of Haryana, India.

Taxonomy

This species appears to belong to the white-bellied black-throated superspecies like the White Wagtail. It is most similar in external appearance to the Japanese Wagtail and Hodgson's Wagtail, a subspecies of the White Wagtail (M. alba alboides). Similarities in pre-copulatory behaviour with the Japanese Wagtail have been noted. Its song much resembles that of the recently-described Mekong Wagtail, which may or may not be a coincidence. mtDNA cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 sequence data is not able to robustly resolve the relationships of these birds, especially in respect to the Blue-headed Wagtail and its relatives (Voelker, 2002).

Description

The White-browed Wagtail is the largest species of wagtail at 21 cm length. It is a slender bird, with the characteristic long, constantly wagging tail of its genus. It has black upperparts, head and breast, with a white supercilium and large white wingbar. The rest of the underparts are white. The female has the black coloration less glossy than in the male. Juveniles are brown-grey where the adult is black.

Behaviour

Breeding chicks at nest in Hyderabad, India.

It builds its cup-shaped nest in a hole in a wall or bank and usually lays three to five eggs.

Food

Like other wagtails, this species is insectivorous. Nestlings were mainly fed orthopterans, caterpillars and spiders.

Notes
  1. ^ BirdLife International (2004). Motacilla madaraspatensis. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.
  2. ^ Sangha, H. S. Naoroji, R. (2005) Large Pied Wagtail Motacilla maderaspatensis Gmelin in Ladakh. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 102(3):341
  3. ^ Higuchi H & T Hirano (1989). "Breeding season, courtship behaviour, and territoriality of White and Japanese Wagtails Motacilla alba and M. randis". Ibis 131 (4): 578-588. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1989.tb04793.x. 
  4. ^ Verzhutskii, Boris (2002) Diet of the Large Pied Wagtail Motacilla maderaspatensis in Auroville, Pondicherry. Zoos' Print Journal 17(9):886 PDF





                                     



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