Family Pipits and Wagtails (Motacillidae)

Near Threatened

Mekong Wagtail (Motacilla samveasnae)


French: Bergeronnette du Mékong German: Mekongstelze Spanish: Lavandera del Mekong

Motacilla samveasnae

Duckworth et al.

, 2001,

San River, Stung Treng Province, Cambodia


Recently described species#R. Thought to be closely related to M. alba, M. maderaspatensis, M. grandis and M. aguimp, although mitochondrial DNA analyses suggest that last species is more distantly related to this group. Monotypic.


Lower R Mekong and tributaries in extreme S Laos, NE Cambodia (upstream from Kampi) and Vietnam (R Srepok)#R, also marginally in adjacent Thailand.

Descriptive notes

17–17·5 cm. Male has forehead to nape blackish, long, broad white supercilium, very thin white crescent below eye, blackish lores, ear-coverts and neck, white... read more


Simple song a brief rapid series of rather thin, high-pitched, often rather harsh notes, all notes... read more


Broad lowland rivers; requires braided sections of river with swift-flowing water, and with... read more

Food and feeding

Little known. Diet probably small arthropods. Forages regularly within tops of emergent bushes, walking along branches and picking small... read more


Breeds Feb–Apr, in later part of low-flow season. A nest found in March 2010, containing 3 chicks, was on a rocky islet and... read more


Little known. Appears to leave breeding habitats during season of high water flow, when channel... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Initially described as recently as 2001. Numbers considered currently healthy in Cambodia, but status in Laos... read more

Recommended citation

Tyler, S. & de Juana, E. (2020). Mekong Wagtail (Motacilla samveasnae). 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 23 February 2020).