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The Madagascan wagtail is a large, elegant and slender wagtail which has grey upperparts, a white breast and a yellow belly. There is a black band across the breast and the long tail has a dark centre and white outer tail feathers. There is short white supercilium. Juveniles have a less conspicuous breast band and a fainter supercilium. The body length is 19 cm (7.5 in).
Distribution and status
The Madagascan wagtail is endemic to Madagascar where it is found throughout the island. It is common and widespread and most common in the east of the island and on the central plateau; it is less numerous in the north and west, and rare in the south.
The Madagascan wagtail is typically found around water, such as rivers, lakes and seashores, also in open areas such a rice paddies and gardens. It is found from sea level up to 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) above sea level.
The diet of the Madagascan wagtail mainly consists of small invertebrates, notably insects and spiders. It forages by walking or running on the ground, moving its tail up and down in typical wagtail fashion and suddenly jumping up a few metres into the air to capture prey. It breeds between August and November and is double brooded, with the young of the first brood often assisting their parents feed the second brood. The nest is a bowl shape which is situated near the ground in dense foliage, the fork of a branch, a rock crevice or under the roof of a building but always near water.
- BirdLife International (2016). "Motacilla flaviventris". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22718375A94578121. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
- "Madagascar Wagtail Motacilla flaviventris Hartlaub, 1860". Avibase. Denis Lepage. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
- Sinclair, Ian; Langrand, Olivier (1998). Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands. Struik. p. 136. ISBN 1 86872 035 7.
- "Madagascar Wagtail (Motacilla flaviventris)". Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
- Morris, Pete; Hawkins, Frank (1998). Birds of Madagascar: A Photographic Guide. Yale University Press. p. 234. ISBN 0 3000 7755 6.