Grey wagtail Motacilla cinerea, photographed by Phil Armitage.

Belongs within: Passerida.
Contains: Motacilla, Anthus.

The Motacillidae is a family of insectivorous, generally ground-feeding passerines, containing the pipits (Anthus), wagtails (Motacilla and Dendronanthus indicus) and longclaws (Macronyx). Motacillids have pointed wings with nine primaries, and long slender legs with partly scaled tarsi (Austin 1961). The wagtails get their name from their habit of continually bobbing their tails up and down; some wagtails are also strikingly patterned.

<==Motacillidae [Anhidae, Motacillina]
    |  i. s.: Dendronanthus indicusWBSJ82, VP89
    |         Tmetothylacus tenellusJT12
    |         BudytesM01
    |           |--B. citreolusM01
    |           `--B. flavusSc05
    |  `--+--AnthusBKB15
    |     `--+--MacronyxBKB15
    |        |    |--M. ameliaeJT12
    |        |    |--M. aurantiigulaJT12
    |        |    |--M. capensisJT12
    |        |    |--M. croceusJT12
    |        |    |--M. flavicollis Rüppell 1840St05
    |        |    |--M. flavigaster Swains. 1837F43
    |        |    |--M. fuelleborniiJT12
    |        |    |--M. grimwoodiJT12
    |        |    `--M. sharpei Jackson 1904L03
    |        `--+--+--‘Anthus’ sokokensis van Someren 1921JF06, L03
    |           |  `--+--‘Anthus’ brachyurusBKB15
    |           |     `--‘Anthus’ cafferJF06
    |           |          |--A. c. cafferL03
    |           |          `--A. c. blayneyi van Someren 1919L03
    |           `--+--‘Anthus’ cinnamomeusBKB15
    |              |    |--A. c. cinnamomeusL03
    |              |    |--A. c. annae Meinertzhagen 1921 [=A. richardi annae]L03
    |              |    `--A. c. lacuum Meinertzhagen 1920 [=A. richardi lacuum]L03
    |              `--+--‘Anthus’ melindaeJF06
    |                 `--+--‘Anthus’ longicaudatusJF06
    |                    `--‘Anthus’ vaalensisJF06
    |                         |--A. v. vaalensisL03
    |                         `--A. v. neumanni Meinertzhagen 1920 (see below for synonymy)L03
    `--+--‘Anthus’ godlewskii (Tacz. 1876)BKB15, M01 [=Agrodroma godlewskiiM01]
       `--Corydalla Vigors 1825CC10
            |--+--C. novaeseelandiae (Gmelin 1789)CC10 (see below for synonymy)
            |  |    |--C. n. novaeseelandiae (see below for synonymy)CC10
            |  |    |--‘Anthus’ n. aucklandicus Gray 1862 [=Corydalla aucklandica]CC10
            |  |    |--‘Anthus’ n. chathamensis Lorenz-Liburnau 1902 [=A. novaezealandiae chathamensis]CC10
            |  |    |--‘Anthus’ n. sinensisVP89
            |  |    `--‘Anthus’ n. steindachneri Reischek 1889CC10
            |  `--‘Anthus’ nyassaeJF06
            `--+--+--*C. richardi (Vieillot 1818)CC10, BKB15, L03 (see below for synonymy)
               |  |--C. rufula Vieill. 1818W66 [=Anthus rufulusJF06]
               |  |    |--C. r. rufulaL03
               |  |    `--‘Anthus rufulus’ albidus Stresemann 1912 [=A. richardi albidus]L03
               |  `--‘Anthus’ similis (Jerdon 1840)JT12, L03 [incl. A. sordidus Rüppell 1840 non Lesson 1830L03]
               |       |--A. s. similisL03
               |       |--A. s. arabicus Hartert 1917 [=A. sordidus arabicus]L03
               |       |--A. s. asbenaicus Rothschild 1920 [=A. sordidus asbenaicus]L03
               |       |--A. s. captus Hartert 1905 [=A. leucophrys captus]L03
               |       |--A. s. decaptus Meinertzhagen 1920 [=A. sordidus decaptus]L03
               |       |--A. s. hararensis Neumann 1906 (see below for synonymy)L03
               |       |--A. s. nivescensL03
               |       `--A. s. sokotrae Hartert 1917 [=A. sordidus sokotrae]L03
               `--+--‘Anthus’ leucophrysJF06
                  |    |--A. l. leucophrysL03
                  |    |--A. l. bohndorffi Neumann 1906 [incl. A. gouldi prunus Meinertzhagen 1920]L03
                  |    |--A. l. goodsoni Meinertzhagen 1920L03
                  |    |--A. l. omoensis Neumann 1906L03
                  |    |--A. l. saphiroi Neumann 1906L03
                  |    `--A. l. zenkeri Neumann 1906 [incl. A. gouldi turneri Meinertzhagen 1920]L03
                  |--‘Anthus’ nairobiBKB15
                  `--+--‘Anthus’ berthelotii Bolle 1862JT12, L03 [incl. A. berthelotii madeirensis Hartert 1905L03]
                     `--‘Anthus’ campestris (Linnaeus 1758)JT12, L03 (see below for synonymy)

‘Anthus’ campestris (Linnaeus 1758)JT12, L03 [=Alauda campestrisM02; incl. An. agrorum Brehm 1831L03, Corydalla arenaria Brehm 1841L03, An. flavescens Brehm 1831L03, An. campestris griseus Nicoll 1920L03, C. campestris robusta Brehm 1856L03, C. campestris rufescens (l. c. for flavescens)L03, C. campestris striata Brehm 1856L03, Anthus subarquatus Brehm 1831L03, C. vierthaleri Brehm 1855L03]

‘Anthus’ vaalensis neumanni Meinertzhagen 1920 [=A. leucophrys neumanni, A. leucophrys angolensis Neumann 1906 non A. angolensis Bocage 1870]L03

Corydalla novaeseelandiae (Gmelin 1789)CC10 [=Alauda novaeseelandiaeCC10, Anthus novaeseelandiaeJT12, Anthus novaezealandiaeCC10, Corydalla novaezealandiaeCC10]

Corydalla novaeseelandiae novaeseelandiae (Gmelin 1789) [incl. Anthus grayi Bonaparte 1850, Alauda littorea Forster in Lichtenstein 1844, Anthus novaezealandiae reischeki Lorenz-Liburnau 1902, Anthus novaeseelandiae taupoensis Mathews 1930]CC10

*Corydalla richardi (Vieillot 1818)CC10, BKB15, L03 [=Anthus novaeseelandiae richardiL03; incl. C. orientalis Brehm 1856L03]

*Type species of generic name indicated


Austin, O. L., Jr. 1961. Birds of the World: A survey of the twenty-seven orders and one hundred and fifty-five families. Paul Hamlyn: London.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[F43] Fraser, L. 1843. On Cricetomys gambianus and various species of birds from western Africa. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 11: 51–53.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[JF06] Jønsson, K. A., & J. Fjeldså. 2006. A phylogenetic supertree of oscine passerine birds. Zoologica Scripta 35: 149–186.

[L03] LeCroy, M. 2003. Type specimens of birds in the American Museum of Natural History. Part 5. Passeriformes: Alaudidae, Hirundinidae, Motacillidae, Campephagidae, Pycnonotidae, Irenidae, Laniidae, Vangidae, Bombycillidae, Dulidae, Cinclidae, Troglodytidae, and Mimidae. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 278: 1–156.

[M01] Madarász, J. 1901. Madarak [Vögel]. In: Horváth, G. (ed.) Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazása [Dritte Asiatische Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] vol. 2. Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazásának Állattani Eredményei [Zoologische Ergebnisse der Dritten Asiatischen Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] pp. 21–39. Victor Hornyánszky: Budapest, and Karl W. Hierseman: Leipzig.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[S05] Schalow, H. 1905. Die Vögel der Arktis. In: Römer, F., & F. Schaudinn (eds) Fauna Arctica. Eine Zusammenstellun der arktischen Tierformen, mit besonder Berücksichtigung des Spitzbergen-Gebietes auf Grund der Ergebnisse der Deutschen Expedition in das Nördliche Eismeer im Jahre 1898 vol. 4 pp. 79–288. Gustav Fischer: Jena.

[St05] Steinheimer, F. D. 2005. Eduard Rüppel’s avian types at the Natural History Museum, Tring (Aves). Senckenbergiana Biologica 85 (2): 233–264.

[VP89] Viney, C., & K. Phillipps. 1989. Birds of Hong Kong 5th ed. Government Printer: Hong Kong.

[W66] Walden, A. 1866. Notes on birds collected in Tennasserim and in the Andaman Islands. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 537–556.

[WBSJ82] Wild Bird Society of Japan. 1982. A Field Guide to the Birds of Japan. Kodansha International Ltd.: Tokyo.

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