White Browed Wagtail

White Browed Wagtail
White Browed Wagtail

On that Sunday I was strolling near Bondel trying to capture some birds.. It was raining heavily that day and I was unable to find mach except this bird who was searching for insects in a nearby puddle. After seeing me it went near a pile of Granite rocks nearby. This gave me a nice opportunity to shoot him in a nice evening light. Here are some of the shots which I took with Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM on Canon EOS 7D with Canon EF 1.4x II Extender. All shots were taken handheld at 1/500th of second with f/4.0 and ISO 200.

The White-browed Wagtail or Large Pied Wagtail (Motacilla maderaspatensis) is a medium-sized bird and is the largest member of the wagtail family. They are conspicuously patterned with black above and white below, a prominent white brow, shoulder stripe and outer tail feathers. They are common in small water bodies and have adapted to urban environments where they often nest on roof tops. The specific name is derived from the city of Madras which is now renamed as Chennai.

White Browed Wagtail in a puddle
White Browed Wagtail in a puddle

The White-browed Wagtail is the largest species of wagtail at 21 cm length. It is a slender bird, with the characteristic long, constantly wagging tail of its genus. It has black upperparts, head and breast, with a white supercilium and large white wingbar. Unlike White Wagtails it never has white on the forehead. The rest of the underparts are white. The female has the black less intense than in the male. Juveniles are like the females brown-grey where the adult is black.

The White-browed Wagtail is a resident breeder in India and is endemic to the Indian subcontinent. It is rare in the higher altitude regions but has been seen in Ladakh on the edge of the Tibetan plateau. In most of India it is found below 1000 m but in southern India it goes up into the hills up to 2200 m.

White Browed Wagtail
White Browed Wagtail

These wagtails have adapted well to urban habitats and is often found perched on overhead water storages in residential buildings. Usually seen in pairs or small groups near open water. They call often especially in the mornings and are active like most other wagtails. They will perch on the ground as well as on wires or on buildings. The song is long and loud with many different notes. The usual call is a wheezy “wheech”. They can fly fairly rapidly for long distances and they fly with a bounding (dipping and rising) flight pattern and have been recorded to travel at the speed of about 40 km/h.

Looking Straight
Looking Straight

Like other wagtails, this species is insectivorous. Nestlings were mainly fed orthopterans, caterpillars and spiders. Stayphylinid beetles and pentatomid bugs have also been recorded in their diet. Local name for wagtails in India is dhobin meaning washerwoman.

EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/4.5 | Camera : Canon EOS 7D | Taken : 20 June, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 420mm | ISO : 200 | Location : 12° 55′ 19.761239991788″ N 74° 51′ 57.39768019884″ E | Shutter speed : 1/500s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/4.5 | Camera : Canon EOS 7D | Taken : 20 June, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 420mm | ISO : 200 | Location : 12° 55′ 19.761239991788″ N 74° 51′ 57.39768019884″ E | Shutter speed : 1/500s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/4.5 | Camera : Canon EOS 7D | Taken : 20 June, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 420mm | ISO : 200 | Location : 12° 55′ 19.761239991788″ N 74° 51′ 57.39768019884″ E | Shutter speed : 1/500s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/4.5 | Camera : Canon EOS 7D | Taken : 20 June, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 420mm | ISO : 200 | Location : 12° 55′ 19.761239991788″ N 74° 51′ 57.39768019884″ E | Shutter speed : 1/500s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.

3 thoughts on “White Browed Wagtail

  1. beautiful pictures! How it is different from magpie robin? Except it is longer and has longer tail compared to magpie both look similia to me ,

  2. Very nice pictures, I thought they were pied wagtail. Never knew about the white browed. Are they migratory too?

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