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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Cape Wagtail

Afrikaans name: Gewone Kwikkie

Cape Wagtail on a thatched roof

The Cape Wagtail is a common garden bird

Photo © Steven Herbert

Motacilla capensis

The Cape Wagtail is a well-known bird around South Africa as it is often found in gardens and parks.

Wagtails are related to pipits and longclaws.

The Cape Wagtail is more drably coloured than the other wagtails found in South Africa.

This bird is often seen patrolling areas of short grass, like lawns, looking for insects which form the main part of its diet.

Cape Wagtail on a thatched roof

Photo © Steven Herbert

They often bob they tails up and down which is the characteristic that gives these birds their common name.

The Cape Wagtail likes to nest in cracks, or crevices, in either natural or man-made habitats. Up to 7 eggs may be laid.


References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 79

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 94

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 194

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 76

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 182

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 186

Geoff Lockwood's Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Year Published: - Page: 99

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 623

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 622

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 380

List of South African Birds

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