Backyard BirdsUncategorized

Cape Wagtails



The Cape Wagtails (Motacilla capensis) occur naturally across most of Africa with a range that stretches from eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) and Angola across to Kenya and south to the Cape in South Africa.

The Cape Wagtails were named for the characteristic bobbing motion that causes the tail to swing up and down.

These are usually found in open country near water. They have also adapted well to urban living.


These slender birds measure about 19 – 20 in length (including the tail). The upper plumage is plain grey-brown, except for pale wing edges and short white supercilium (line above the eye). Below they are off-white with a dark grey band across the chest.

Diet / Feeding

Their diet consists mainly of insects, as well as the occasional tadpoles and small fish.


They construct bulky nests in the crevices of natural and man-made structures.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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