Motacilla maderaspatensis

Motacilla maderaspatensis, Gm.

589. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 217 ; M. maderaspatana, Briss.; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. III, p. 489; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 410 ; Murray's Verte-brate Zoology of Sind, p. 164; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885;p. 126.


Length, 8.5 to 9 ; expanse, 12 ; wing, 3.75 to 4; tail, 4; tarsus, 1; bill at front, 0.6 ; bill from gape, 0.72.

Bill blackish ; irides dark-brown ; legs blackish.

Upper plumage, with the chin, throat, and breast black, with a broad white supercilium and a large white wing-spot, formed by the median and greater-coverts, and the edges of some of the primaries; the greater part of the two outermost tail-feathers white, also the edges of the upper tail-coverts; beneath, from the breast, white.

The female has the black less pure. In winter the chin, upper part of the throat, and some feathers just below the eye, are white.

The Pied Wagtail is very generally distributed throughout the Presidency ; it is a permanent resident, breeding nearly the whole year through. They have several broods during the season; one pair that frequented a small tank adjoining my compound at Poona had a nest with two young ones and an addled egg on the 3rd March. On the 23rd April I took three incubated eggs from the same nest; they had another nest, built about a yard away from the first one, which contained two eggs on the 9th May. In July, I noticed them feeding a pair of young birds, and towards the end of August they were making preparations for another brood. So that this pair had at least five clutches of eggs in one season. They were the only Wagtails on the tank, and were very pugnacious, and would allow no other bird to remain on the tank; their own young ones, as soon as they were able to forage for themselves, were even driven away.

The nest which is a mere pad, composed of grass fibres, &c, is always near water, and is built upon something solid, such as the ledge of a rock, a niche in a stone bridge, a hole in a bank, or some such similar place.

The eggs, three or four in number, vary much both in size and shape, but are always more or less pointed at one end. The general color is greenish or earthy-white, spotted, speckled, streaked, clouded or smudged with olive, purplish, or earthy-brown.

They average 0.9 inches in length by about 0.65 in breadth.

Handbook to the Birds of the Bombay Presidency
Barnes, Henry Edwin. Handbook to the birds of the Bombay Presidency, 1885.
Title in Book: 
Motacilla maderaspatensis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Barnes, H. Edwin
Page No: 
Common name: 
Pied Wagtail
White-browed Wagtail
Motacilla maderaspatensis

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