Family Pipits and Wagtails (Motacillidae)

Least Concern

Madagascar Wagtail (Motacilla flaviventris)


French: Bergeronnette malgache German: Madagaskarstelze Spanish: Lavandera malgache

Motacilla flaviventris


, 1860,

Bombetoke Bay, Madagascar


Described race icterica (SC Madagascar) considered indistinguishable from other populations. Monotypic.



Descriptive notes

19 cm. Large wagtail with narrow black breastband. Male has grey crown and nape, prominent narrow white supercilium, dark grey eyestripe and moustachial stripe; rest of the... read more


Song, from ground or perch or in flight, a trisyllabic, slightly trilled melodious “tree... read more


Open areas near water, whether fresh, brackish or salt; typically, by lakes and rivers, in marshes... read more

Food and feeding

Diet mainly small invertebrates, notably insects and spiders (Araneae). In brief study at one nest, caterpillars and moths (Lepidoptera),... read more


Breeds Aug–Nov; two broods. Record of juvenile from first brood joining parents in feeding nestlings of second brood. Nest a... read more


Some internal movements occur, but details unknown. Appears to leave the High Plateau during... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common and widespread, occurring throughout Madagascar. Most common in E and on the High Plateau; less numerous in N & W, rare in S. Has possibly... read more

Recommended citation

Tyler, S. (2020). Madagascar Wagtail (Motacilla flaviventris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 29 February 2020).