Pipits (Family Motacillidae)

 

The Motacillidae are a family of small passerine birds with medium to
long tails. There are around 65 species in 6 genera and they include the
wagtails, longclaws and pipits. The longclaws are entirely restricted to
the Afrotropics, and the wagtails are predominately found in Europe,
Africa and Asia, with two species migrating and breeding in Alaska. The
pipits have the most cosmopolitan distribution, being found across mostly
in the Old World but occurring also in the Americas and oceanic islands
such as New Zealand and the Falklands.

 

Wagtails, pipits, and longclaws are slender, small to medium sized
passerines, ranging from 14 to 17 centimetres in length, with short
necks and long tails. They have long, pale legs with long toes and claws,
particularly the hind toe which can be up to 4cm in length in some
longclaws. There is no sexual dimorphism in size. Overall the robust
longclaws are larger than the pipits and wagtails. Longclaws can weigh
as much as 64 g, whereas the weight range for pipits and wagtails is
15-31 g. The plumage of most pipits is dull brown and reminiscent of
the larks, although some species have brighter plumages, particularly
the golden pipit of north-east Africa. The adult male longclaws have
brightly coloured undersides. The wagtails often have striking plumage,
including grey, black, white, and yellow.

 

 

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