The edges of both mandibles smooth except for a small notch in the upper, close to the tip ; the hinder part of the tarsus longitudinally bilarninafed, the laminae smooth and entire; the tarsus in front slightly scutellated ; wing with nine primaries, the first and second nearly equal; the longest secondaries reaching nearly or quite to the tip of the wing; bill long and slender; a -complete Autumn and a partial Spring moult; young similar to the adult but often more spotted below and more rufous in tint; tail of twelve feathers ; rictal bristles fairly well developed ; sexes alike or nearly so.
The Motacillidae contains the "Wagtails and Pipits, a family very widely distributed and containing a large number of species often very closely alike both in colour-pattern and structure.
The Indian species may be retained within the four genera employed by Oates in the first edition of the ' Avifauna' but many Systematic Ornithologists now further divide Motacilla into two genera, Motacilla and Budytes, which differ in the shape of the hinder claw and the comparative length of wing and tail.
Key to Genera.
A.Upper plumage neither streaked nor mottled but plain.
a. Middle tail-feathers not shorter than the others…………Motacilla, p. 254.
b. Middle tail-feathers shorter than theothers…………Dendronanthus, [p. 275.
B. Upper plumage streaked or mottled.
c. Tips of tail-feathers normal and rounded…………Anthus, p. 277.
d. Tips of tail-feathers sharply pointed…………Oreocorys, p. 299.