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

Two Oceans - Author: Branch, Griffiths, Branch and Beckley - Published: 2010 - Page: 348

Wild About Johannesburg - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 1995 - Page: 51

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 142

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 59

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 290

The Sandton Field Guide - Author: Sandton Nature Conservation Society - Published: 1982 - Page: 60

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1979 - Page: 39

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 147

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 90

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

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

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 350

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

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 489

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 476

Newmans Garden Birds - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1991 - Page: 66

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 368

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

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

Freshwater Life - Author: C. Griffiths, J. Day & M. Picker - Published: 2015 - Page: 62

Garden Birds in South Africa - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2017 - Page: 109

Geoff Lockwoods Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Published: 0 - Page: 99

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 270

Know your Garden Birds - Author: - Published: 0 - Page: 37

Meeting with Birds - Author: Tom Spence - Published: 1986 - Page: 91

More Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: P. Ginn & G. McIlleron - Published: 1981 - Page: 24

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 294

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 294

Common Birds of the North Coast - Author: Bing Comrie - Published: 2005 - Page: 64

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 23

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

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 223

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 194

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 105

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 260

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 79

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

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 240

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 154

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

BirdLife South Africa


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