Mountain Wagtail | Motacilla clara
The Mountain Wagtail is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Motacillidae bird family group which includes birds such as Wagtails, Longclaws, Pipits.
The description for the Mountain Wagtail (Latin name Motacilla clara) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Motacilla clara can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 712 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 1095. You will find a picture of the Mountain Wagtail on page 1073.
NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.
This bird is known as Long-tailed Wagtail in the Roberts 6th Edition.
The Mountain Wagtail is known in Afrikaans as Bergkwikkie.
The Mountain Wagtail has a height of 20 cms and weighs around 20 gms. The head is coloured blue, grey while the bill is coloured black. The Motacilla clara has a white coloured throat, grey legs and a blue, grey coloured back. The eyes are brown.
Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.
Head is blue, grey
Eyes are brown
Bill is black
Legs are grey
Throat is white
Back is blue, grey
Feeding Habits ...
This bird forages for food on the ground
The Motacilla clara attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten
This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.
This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .
Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...
The Mountain Wagtail is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 4 eggs and they are coloured grey.
The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.
The Mountain Wagtail is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.
The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams
This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests
The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings
Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...
This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks
The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."
copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105
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