Friday, March 7, 2008
White-browed Wagtail, also known as the Large Pied Wagtail, (Motacilla madaraspatensis), is a medium-sized passerine bird in the wagtail family Motacillidae, which also includes the pipits and longclaws. The species name is derived from the Indian city of Madras, which is now known as Chennai
The White-browed Wagtail is a resident breeder in India and is endemic to the Indian subcontinent. It is found in open freshwater wetland habitats. It is one of the few Motacilla wagtails that has adapted well to urban habitats and is often found perched on overhead water storages in residential buildings.
This species appears to belong to the white-bellied black-throated superspecies like the White Wagtail. It is most similar in external appearance to the Japanese Wagtail and to Hodgson's Wagtail, a subspecies of the White Wagtail (M. alba alboides). Its song much resembles that of the recently-described Mekong Wagtail, which may or may not be a coincidence. mtDNA cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 sequence data is not able to robustly resolve the relationships of these birds, especially in respect to the Blue-headed Wagtail and its relatives (Voelker, 2002).
The White-browed Wagtail is the largest species of wagtail at 21 cm length. It is a slender bird, with the characteristic long, constantly wagging tail of its genus. It has black upperparts, head and breast, with a white supercilium and large white wingbar. The rest of the underparts are white. The female has the black coloration less glossy than in the male. Juveniles are brown-grey where the adult is black.