White-browed Wagtail

White-browed Wagtail Motacilla maderaspatensis is nearly endemic to Indian subcontinent. Recorded Yunnan. ID & COMPARISON Distinguished from black-backed races of White Wagtail M. alba by larger size and nearly all-black head, broken only by broad white supercilium. Very similar to Japanese Wagtail M. grandis, but ranges widely disjunct. Japanese has white chin and forehead, and less white in open wing. Female often grey on mantle. Juvenile has uniformly grey head and upper breast and white supercilium; similar to juveniles of White Wagtail ssp. alboides and personata, but those have slightly greyer (not grey-brown) mantle, less uniform throat and upper breast, and white eye-ring. Juvenile Japanese is paler grey on head, breast, and mantle and has smaller supercilium and more white in wing. VOICE Call harsh, buzzy, and monosyllabic, distinct from White Wagtail. — Craig Brelsford


shanghaibirding.com has research on all 21 species in the family Motacillidae in China. Click any link below:

Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus
Western Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Eastern Yellow Wagtail M. tschutschensis
Citrine Wagtail M. citreola
Grey Wagtail M. cinerea
White Wagtail M. alba
Japanese Wagtail M. grandis
White-browed Wagtail M. maderaspatensis
Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi
Paddyfield Pipit A. rufulus
Blyth’s Pipit A. godlewskii
Tawny Pipit A. campestris
Meadow Pipit A. pratensis
Tree Pipit A. trivialis
Olive-backed Pipit A. hodgsoni
Pechora Pipit A. gustavi
Rosy Pipit A. roseatus
Red-throated Pipit A. cervinus
Buff-bellied Pipit A. rubescens
Water Pipit A. spinoletta
Upland Pipit A. sylvanus


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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