Motacillidae


The pipits and wagtails are small, slender birds that forage and nest on the ground, and although found around the world, the majority of species occurs in Africa and Eurasia.  Whilst the pipits are rather drab in colour, being predominantly brown and streaked, the wagtails are brightly or contrastingly coloured, at least on their Northern Hemisphere breeding grounds. Both groups walk with a characteristic gait, constantly bobbing their heads back and forth and wagging their (typically) long tails up and down, though the latter habit is more noticeable in the wagtails, as their name indicates. Both groups also fly with a distinctive undulating motion. The bill is slender, unlike that of the larks, with which pipits might be confused, and the legs are long and slender, usually with an elongated hind-claw. These birds feed on ground-dwelling insects, and as with other open country birds, have benefitted from the clearing of forest, agricultural development, and road construction. Three wagtail species and one pipit occur in Java.

Flight:

Direct, and characteristically undulating or dipping; often accompanied by sharp calls.

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