Forest wagtail

Dendronanthus indicus

TAXONOMY

Motacilla indica Gmelin, 1798, India (Malabar). OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Tree wagtail; French: Bergeronnette de forêt; German: Baumstelze; Spanish: Lavandera de los Bosques.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

6.3-6.9 in (16-17.5 cm); 0.5-0.6 oz (14-17 g). Grayish head and upperparts with white eye stripe; white bands on wing. Whitish throat and underparts with black bib-like collar with black stripes on breast.

DISTRIBUTION

Northeast China and southeast Russia south to Korea and southwest Japan; winters in south China, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Indochina through Malay Peninsula to Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and the Philippines.

HABITAT

Deciduous and evergreen broadleaf forests, riverine forest, open woodland, and pinewoods; also winters in bamboo, plantations, and parks.

BEHAVIOR

Readily flies to trees when disturbed; sometimes roosts in reeds or mangroves. Sways tail and rear body laterally. Migrates south in August through October; return migration March through May.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Insects (including ants) and spiders. Forages on the ground, usually close to cover.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous; breeds May through June. Nest is a small, neat cup of small twigs, leaves, grass, rootlets, moss, cobwebs and lichen, on a horizontal tree branch, often near water; female builds. Lays four eggs; incubation 15-16 days, by female.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened; formerly regarded as locally distributed.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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