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LONGCLAWS, PIPITs, and WAGTAILs

Order Passeriformes    Family Motacillidae

The Motacillidae are a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the longclaws, pipits and wagtails. The longclaws are entirely found in sub Saharan Africa, and the wagtails are predominately found in Europe, Africa and Asia. The pipits have the most widely distributed, being found mostly in the Old World but occurring also in the Americas and oceanic islands.

Wagtails, pipits, and longclaws are slender, small to medium sized passerines, ranging from 14 to 17 centimetres in length, with short necks and long tails. They have long, pale legs with long toes and claws, particularly the hind toe which can be up to 4 cm in length in some longclaws. Overall the robust longclaws are larger than the pipits and wagtails. The plumage of most pipits is dull brown and reminiscent of the larks. The adult male longclaws have brightly coloured undersides. The wagtails often have striking plumage, including gray, black, white, and yellow.

Motacillids take a wide range of invertebrate prey, especially insects are the most commonly taken, but also including spiders, worms. They occupy almost all available habitats, from the shore to high mountains. Wagtails prefer wetter habitats to the pipits.


Genus Amaurocichla - 1 species

Shorttail, Sao Tome  Amaurocichla bocagii  Found: Sao Tome (off western coast of Africa)
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans



Genus Anthus
Pipits are slender, often drab, ground-feeding insectivores of open country. Like their relatives in family Motacillidae, the pipits are monogamous and territorial. Pipits are ground nesters, laying up to six speckled eggs.
Similar to: Longspurs. Pipits have thinner bills than Longspurs.
Similar to: Larks. Larks are stouter than pipits. Top of lark's bill is curved versus the flatter surface of a pipit's bill.

Pipit, African  also Grassveld Pipit  Anthus cinnamomeus  Found: Africa
The African Pipit has buffy-brown upperparts with darker streaks; whitish underparts with streaked breast; plain belly, flanks.
Similar to: Jackson's Pipit. Jackson's Pipit is darker than African Pipti.
Image by: 1) Ian White - Botswana  2) Darren Bellerby - Kruger National Park, South Africa   3, 4) Johaan du Preez - Pretoria  5) Dick Daniels - Kenya  6) Lip_Kee - Kenya



Pipit, Alpine  Anthus gutturalis  Found: New Guinea
The Alpine Pipit has blackish-brown upperparts; dark brown lores; creamy supercilium; brown ear-coverts; whitish crown, forehead; pale brown underparts.
Image by: 1) Katerina_Tvardikova  2) Bio Divwsity Library


Pipit, American   Anthus  rubescens rubescens   Found: North America, Central America
The American Pipit is one of the two subspecies of the Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus  rubescens
Similar to: Horned Lark. Juvenile Horned Lark is similar to American Pipit.
Similar to: Japanese Pipit. Japanense Pipit has darker streaks on breast than American Pipit.
Image by:  1) Bill Bouton - California  2) Kathy and Sam - Oregon  3) Len Blumin - California   4) Mdf - Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada  5) Maggie Smith  6) Wolfgang Wander    
1, 2, 3) Darker typet  4, 5, 6) Paler type



Pipit, Asian  also Japanese Pipit  Anthus rubescens japonicus   Found: North America (rarely), Asia
The Japanese Pipit is one of the two subspecies of the Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus  rubescens
Similar to: American Pipit. Japanense Pipit has darker streaks on breast than American Pipit.
Image by: 1) Alpsdake - Japan  2, 3) Charlie Westerinen - Yolo Wetland west of Sacramento, California


Pipit, Australasian  Anthus novaeseelandiae  Found: Australasia
The Australasian Pipit has pale brown upperparts with dark streaks;  pale underparts with streaked breast.
Image by:   1) Lip Kee Yap - NSW  2, 3) David Cook- NSW  4) Summerdrought


Pipit, Berthelot's  Anthus berthelotii  Found: Madeira, Canary Islands
The Berthelot's Pipit has mainly gray upperparts; whitish underparts with some breast streaking; white supercilium, eye-ring.
Image by: 1, 2) Juan Emilio  3) Tony Hisgett


Pipit,_Blyth's  Anthus godlewskii  Found: Asia
The Blyth's Pipit has brown upperparts; pale underparts with streaks on breast; short dark bill.
Image by: 1) Andreas Trepte  2) Stefan Johansson  3) Ron_Knight


Pipit,_Buffy  Anthus vaalensis  Found: Africa
The Buffy Pipit has paler and buffier upperparts than the  Plain-backed Pipit; pale supercilium; buffy underparts with faint markings on the breast.
Image by: 1) Jerry Oldenettel - Namibia  2) Ian White - Botswana  3) Bernard_Dupont


Pipit,_Bush  Anthus caffer  Found: Africa
Image by: 1)Joseph Mochoge - Kenya 2) Francesco_Veronesi - South Africa 3) Alan_Manson


Pipit,_Correndera  Anthus correndera  Found: South America
Image by: 1, 2)  Cláudio Timm - Argentine Lake, Argentina  3, 4) Nick Athanas - Argentina


Pipit,_Hellmayr's  Anthus hellmayri  Found: South America
The Hellmayer's Pipit is a warm colored pipit; some buff or cinnamon on the underparts - often on the breast and flanks. Streaking on upper-breast only.
Image by: 1) Carlos Almeida - Brazil  2) Claudio Timm  3) Pablo Contreras  4, 5) Nick Athanas - Brazil



Pipit, Jackson's  Anthus latistriatus  Found: DR Congo, Uganda
The Jackson's Pipit has brown upperparts and head with dark streaks; white supercilium, lores, throat; dark mustachial stripe; buff underparts.
Similar to: African Pipit. Jackson's Pipit is darker than African Pipti.
Image by: 1) naturgucker.de


Pipit, Long-billed  also Brown Rock Pipit  Anthus similis  Found: Africa, Asia
The Long-tailed Pipit has mainly gray upperparts; whitish or pale buff underparts; whitish supercilium; white eye-ring.
Similar to: Tawny Pipit. The Long-billed Pipit is slightly larger, has a longer tail, and has a longer darker bill than the Tawny Pipit.
Image by: 1, 2) Lip Kee - India  3) Dick Daniels - South Africa  4, 5) Dick - Kenya  6) Joseph Mochoge - Eburu Kenya
5) Identified by Jose Mochoge



Pipit, Long-legged  Anthus pallidiventris  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Bruno Portier  2) Jacob Cooper


Pipit, Malindi  Anthus melindae  Found: Kenya, Somali
Image by: 1, 2) Steve Garvie - Kenya


Pipit, Meadow   Anthus pratensis   Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The Meadow Pipit has mainly brown upperparts; buff underparts; darker streaks on most of plumage; brown tail with white side edges; white eye-ring; thin bill; pinkish-yellow legs.
Similar to: Rock Pipit. Meadow Pipit has bolder streaks on breast than does Rock Pipit.
Image by: 1) Andreas Trepte   2) Svein Harkestad  3) Hans Hillewaert - North Sea (Belgium)  4) Dick Daniels - Scotand


Pipit, Mountain  Anthus hoeschi  Found: southern Africa
Image by: 1) Francesco Veronesi - South Africa  2) Ian White


Pipit, Nilgiri  Anthus nilghiriensis  Found: hills of southern India
The Nilgiri Pipit has heavily streaked upperparts, crown; buff supercilium, throat; brighter buff sides of neck, breast, flanks; dark bill.
Image by: 1) characters  2) Shyamal 3) Nagesh Kamath  4) Antony Grossy


Pipit,_Ochre-breasted  Anthus nattereri  Found: southern South America
The Ochre-breasted Pipit has black streaked upperparts and upper-breast; whitish throat, belly.
Image by: 1) Joseph Smit  2) Claudio Timm  3, 4) Nick Athanas - Brazil


Pipit,_Olive-backed  Anthus hodgsoni  Found: Asia
The Olive-backed Pipit has olive-brown upperparts; lighter underparts with dark brown streaks on breast, flansks; whitish supercilium;
Image by: 1) Charles Lam  2, 3) M. Nishimura  4) Alpsdake - Japan


Pipit, Paddyfield  also  Oriental Pipit  Anthus rufulus Found: Asia
The Paddyfield Pipit has streaked gray-brown upperparts; pale underparts with brown breast streaks.
Image by: 1, 2) J. M. Garg  3) CLpramod


Pipit, Pampas  also Chaco Pipit  Anthus chacoensis  Found: Argentina, Paraguay
Similar to: Yellowish Pipit. The Pampas Piipit and Yellowish Pipit are best differentiated by song.
Image by: 1) German Prancetti


Pipit,_Paramo  Anthus bogotensis  Found: Andes from Venezuela to Argentina
Image by: 1) Joseph Wolf  2) Jean-Luc Baron  3, 4) Nick Athanas - Ecuador


Pipit,_Pechora  Anthus gustavi  Found: Asia, Indonesia
The Pechora Pipit has heavily streaked brown upperparts; broad white stripes on mantle; whitish underparts with streaks on breast and flanks; heavy bill.
Image by: 1) Monte Taylor  2) Ariefrahman  3) mapsphotos - Taiwan  4) characters - Taiwan


Pipit,_Plain-backed  Anthus leucophrys  Found: Africa
The Plain-backed Pipit has streaked gray-brown upperparts with faint streaks; pale underparts with light breast streaks; white supercilium; brown eye-line. The Buffy Pipit has paler and buffier upperparts than the  Plain-backed Pipit
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya  2, 3) Dick - Masai Mara, Kenya    4) Dave Curtis - Kenya  5) Muchaxo - Gambia  6) Francesco_Veronesi - Tanzania



Pipit, Red-throated  Anthus cervinus   Found: North America (Alaska), Europe, Asia
Red-throated Pipit distinctive in breeding season because of its red throat.
Image by: 1) Andreas Trepte 2) Charles Lam - Hong Kong  3) honan4108 - china
1) Breeding  2, 3) Nonbreeding


Pipit, Richard's Anthus richardi  Found: Asia
Image by: 1) Sergey Pisarevskiy - South Siberia  2) David Cook - Sri Lanka  3)   Arthur Chapman    4)  JJ_Harrison - Thailand


Pipit, Rock  Anthus petrosus Found: Europe
The Rock Pipit has brown upperparts; buff streaked underparts; pale gray outer tail feathers; longish dark bill; white eye-ring; dark legs.
Similar to: Meadow Pipit. Meadow Pipit has bolder streaks on breast than does Rock Pipit.
Image by: 1, 2) Mark Kilner - Broadstairs, England 3) Erik - Faroe Island   4) Joe Cleere - England  5) Tony Morris - England  6) Dick Daniels - Scotland
6) Identified by Ville Supponen



Pipit, Rosy  Anthus roseatus  Found: Asia
Image by: 1, 2) Ron Knight  3) Koshy_Koshy - India


Pipit,_Short-billed  Anthus furcatus  Found: South America
The Short-billed Pipit has a scaly appearance to the back when in fresh plumage. The scaly look is caused by black feathers with white tips. It has a pale face with no strong facial markings; faint eye-line; strongly streaked breast, flanks.
Image by: 1) Lip Kee - Argentina  2) Graham Ekins  3, 4) Nick Athanas - Argentian
3) A. f. furcatus 4) A. f. brevirostris


Pipit,_Short-tailed  Anthus brachyurus  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) BioDivLib 2) Joseph Mochoge - Eburu Kenya  3) Alan_Manson


Pipit, Sokoke  Anthus sokokensis  Found: Kenya, Tanzania
Image by: 1) Steve Garvie


Pipit,_South_Georgia  Anthus antarcticus  Found: South Georgia islands (off Antarctic)
The South Georgia Pipit is the only song bird in Antarctica, and South Georgia's only passerine, and one of the few non-seabirds of the region.
Image by: 1, 2) Brian Grattwicke  3) size4riggerboots - Prion Island, South Georgia


Pipit, Sprague's  Anthus spragueii   Found: Plains of central part of North America
Sprague's Pipits are unique among songbirds in that they sing high in the sky, it is more often identified by its distinctive descending song heard from above then it is seen on the ground.
Image by: 1, 2) Jerry Oldenettel - New Mexico


Pipit, Striped  Anthus lineiventris  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) J J Harrison - South Africa   2) Darren Bellerby - South Africa  3) Derek_Keats - South Africa


Pipit, Tawny  Anthus campestris   Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The Tawny Pipit has mainly sandy brown upperparts; pale underparts; whitish supercilium; white eye-ring, may be incomplete on bottom.
Similar to: Long-billed Pipit. The Long-billed Pipit is slightly larger, has a longer tail, and has a longer darker bill than the Tawny Pipit.
Image by: 1) Lip Kee  2, 3) JV Verde - Portugal  4) Photo Nature - Hungary  5) Dick Daniels - Kenya 5) Identified by Jose Mochoge.



Pipit, Tree  Anthus trivialis   Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The Tree Pipit has streaked brown upperparts; buff breast with brown streaks; whitish belly.

Image by:  1) Dick Daniels - Scotland 1, 2)  Frank Vassen - Belgium  3) Omar Runolfsson - Denmark    4) Sergey Yeliseev - Moscow region   5) Marek Szczepanek   6) Sighmanb - England  7, 8) Joseph Mochoge - Kenya


Pipit,_Upland  Anthus sylvanus  Found: Afghanistan, China, Hong Kong, India, Nepal, Pakistan
Image by: 1, 2) Pete  3) Pkspks - India


Pipit,_Water  Anthus spinoletta Found: Europe, Asia
The Water Pipit has mainly brown upperparts; buff underparts with streaks; dark legs; white outer tail feathers. Breeding has pinkish breast; gray head; pale supercilum.
Image by: 1) Marboline  2) JV Verde - Portugal  3) Photo Nature  4) Cristiano Crolle - Adda River, Italy  5) Zeynel_Cebeci - Turkey  6) Radovan_Václav - Slovakia



Pipit, Woodland  Anthus nyassae  Found: south-central Africa
The Woodland Pipit has warm brown upperparts with dark streaks; white supercilium; dark eye-line; pale underparts with some breast streaking.
Image by: 1) Nigel Voaden - DR Congo  2) Maans Booysen - Angola


Pipit,_Yellowish  Anthus lutescens  Found: South America
Similar to: Pampas Pipit. The Pampas Piipit and Yellowish Pipit are best differentiated by song.
Image by: 1, 2) Cláudio Timm - Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil  3) Dario Sanches  4, 5) Nick Athanas - Brazil



Pipit, Yellow-tufted also African Rock Pipit  Anthus crenatus  Found: Lesotho, South Africa
Image by: 1) Henrick Gronvold  2) Todd Boland



Genus Dendronanthus - 1 species

Wagtail, Forest  Dendronanthus indicus  Found: tropical Asia
The Forest Wagtail has olive-brown back, crown; black wings; white supercilium; dark and narrow eye-line; mainly white underparts; black complete upper-breast band; black incomplete lower-breast band. It wags its tail side-ways, instead of up-and-down like other wagtails. Only wagtail species that nests in trees.
Image by: 1) Jason Thompson - Thailand  2) Christopher Watson  3) Hyashi Haka



Genus Hemimacronyx

Longclaw,_Sharpe's  Hemimacronyx sharpei  Found: Kenya
The Sharpe's Longclaw has upperparts heavily marked with buff and rufous streaks; yellow upperparts; white outer tail feanters in flight.
Image by:   1) John Gerrard Keulemans   2, 3) Carol Foil - Kinangop Plateau, Kenya  4) Peter_Steward - Kenya


Pipit, Yellow-breasted  Hemimacronyx chloris also Anthus chloris Found: Lesotho, South Africa
Image by: 1) Joseph Smit  2) Ian White



Genus Macronyx
Found : Africa
Longclaws resemble meadowlarks, but are not related!

Longclaw, Abyssinian  Macronyx flavicollis  Found: Ethiopia
The Abyssianian Longclaw and Yellow-throated Longclaw are similar in appearance and behavior. Their ranges do not overlap.
Image by: 1) Francesco Veronesi  2) Sergey Yeliseev


Longclaw,_Cape also Orange-throated Longclaw  Macronyx capensis  Found: southern Africa
Image by: 1, 2) Derek_Keats - South Africa 3) Alan Manson - South Africa 


Longclaw, Fuelleborn's  Macronyx fuelleborni  Found: south-central Africa
Image by: 1) Nik Burrow


Longclaw, Grimwood's  Macronyx grimwoodi  Found: Angola, DR Congo, Zambia
Image by: 1) P Khoo


Longclaw, Pangani  Macronyx aurantiigula  Found: Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya  2, 3) Peter Steward - Kenya


Longclaw,_Rosy-throated also  Rosy-breasted Longclaw  Macronyx ameliae  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya    2) Carol Foil - Rift Valley, Kenya   3) Demetrius John Kessy - east Africa  4) Dave_Curtis - Tanzania


Longclaw, Yellow-throated  Macronyx croceus Found: Africa
The Abyssianian Longclaw and Yellow-throated Longclaw are similar in appearance and behavior. Their ranges do not overlap.
Image by:  1, 2) Dick Daniels - South Africa   3, 4) Ikiwaner - Serengeti    5) Joseph Mochoge - Kenya
1, 2) Female 3 - 5) Male




Genus Madanga -  1 species

Madanga Madanga ruficollis  Found: island of Buru in Indonesia
The Madanga used to be classified with the white-eye family Zosteropidae.
Image by: 1) Rob_Hutchinson



Genus Motacilla

Wagtail, African Pied Motacilla aguimp   Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Charlie Westerinen - Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe  2) Dick Daniels - Tanzania  3) Dick - De Hoop, South Africa    4, 5) Dick - Bourke’s Luck Pothole, South Africas  6) Kenya



Wagtail, Black-backed Motacilla alba lugens also Motacilla lugens    Found: North America, Asia, Australasia
Similar to: White Wagtail. The Black-backed Wagtail is often consider to be a subspecies of the White Wagtail. The Black-backed Wagtail has a blacker back than does the White Wagtail. Also, the Black-backed Wagtail has a white throat, even in the breeding season. The White Wagtail has a black throat in the breeding season.
Image by: 1, 2) Charles Lam - Honk Kong 


Wagtail,_Cape  Motacilla capensis  Found: Africa
The Cape Wagtail has gray-brown upperparts; off-white underparts; short white supercilium; dark gray breast-band.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - Johannesburg, South Africa  2, 3) Dick - Cape Town   4) Craig Adam - Botriver, South Africa  5) Bernard_Dupont - South Africa



Wagtail,_Citrine  Motacilla citreola  Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The breeding male Citrine Wagtail has gray or black upperparts with white on the remiges; bright yellow head, underparts. Nonbreeding male has brownish head; more white on underparts than when breeding. Female resemble nonbreeding males with washed out coloring.
Image by:    1, 3, 4) J M Garg - India   2) Kaippally
1) Breeding  3) Nonbreeding


Wagtail, Eastern Yellow Motacilla tschutschensis   Found: North America (Alaska), temperate Asia, Australasia
Yellow Wagtail has been split into Eastern Yellow Wagtail and Western Yellow Wagtail. Breeding male has olive upperparts; yellow underparts. Females and nonbreeding males have yellow diluted by white. Heads of breeding males have variety of colors and patterns depending on subspecies.
Image by:  1) Don Henise - Nome, Alaska  2) Francesco Veronesi - Taiwan  3) Ariefrahman - North Sulawesi


Wagtail, Gray Motacilla cinerea   Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The Gray Wagtail has gray upperparts; white supercilium and partial eye-ring; off-white underparts with yellow lower-belly, vent, and some yellow on throat. Breeding male may have black throat.
Image by:  1, 3) MortimerCat - Lydbrook, England  2) JV Verde - Portugal  4) Dick Daniels - Scotland   5) Cristiano Crolle - Maggiore Lake, Italy
1) Juvenile



Wagtail, Japanese  Motacilla grandis  Found: eastern Asia
Image by: 1) nubobo  - Japan  2) Alpsdake - Japan  3) coniferconifer - Japan


Wagtail, Madagascar  Motacilla flaviventris  Found: Madagascar (open country and streams)
|Image by: 1, 2, 3, 4) Dick Daniels - near Isalo, Madagascar  4) Jerry_Oldenettel



Wagtail, Mekong  Motacilla samveasnae  Found: Cambodia, Loas, Thailand, Vietnam
The Mekong Watail has black forehead, lores, eye-line; white supercilium, throat.
Image by: 1) James Eaton  2) Pete Morris - Cambodia  3) Francesco_Veronesi - Cambodia


Wagtail, Mountain  Motacilla clara  Found: Africa
The Mountain Wagtail has bluish-gray upperparts; white underparts; narrow black breast-band; black wings with white edges; black inner tail with white outer feathers.
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Derek Keats - South Africa


Wagtail, White Motacilla alba   Found: North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia
The White Wagtail has gray upperparts; white underparts; white face; black cap, throat; constantly wags tail.
Similar to: Black-backed Wagtail. The Black-backed Wagtail is often consider to be a subspecies of the White Wagtail. The Black-backed Wagtail has a blacker back than does the White Wagtail. Also, the Black-backed Wagtail has a white throat, even in the breeding season. The White Wagtail has a black throat in the breeding season.
Image by:  1) Vitaliy Khustochka - Ukraine   2) Roine Johannson - Sweden   3)  Sergiu Bacioiu - Germany  4, 5) Dick Daniels - Scotland 6) Cristiano Crolle - Maggiore Lake, Italy



Wagtail, Western Yellow Motacilla flava   Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
Yellow Wagtail has been split into Eastern Yellow Wagtail and Western Yellow Wagtail. Breeding male has olive upperparts; yellow underparts. Females and nonbreeding males have yellow diluted by white. Heads of breeding males have variety of colors and patterns depending on subspecies.
Image by:  1) Ferran Pestaña - Spain 2) Sergey Yeliseev - Russia    3)  Frank Vassen - Poland   4) Andreas Trepte   5) Lukasz Lukasik   6) Cristiano Crolle - Texel, Holland
1) juvenile



Wagtail, White-browed  Motacilla maderaspatensis  Found: Indian subcontinent
The White-browed Wagtail has black upperparts, crown, upper-breast; white supercilium, lower-breast, belly.
Image by: 1) Yogendra Joshii - India  2) JM Garg



Genus Tmetothylacus - 1 species

Pipit, Golden  Tmetothylacus tenellus  Found: Africa
The male Golden Pipit  has yellow face; yellow underparts with dark breast band; yellow on wings obvious in flight. Female typical brown pipit except yellow under wing.
Image by: 1) Mark_Tittley  2) Ken  3) Yolande Oelsen






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