Fun African Pied Wagtail Facts For Kids

Nidhi Sahai
Oct 20, 2022 By Nidhi Sahai
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Discover fascinating African pied wagtail facts about its black and white description.

The African pied wagtail or the Africa wagtail is a small-sized bird species of the family genus  Motacillidae and Motacilla, respectively, and has long pipits and claws. They are belong to the Old World countries.

The African pied wagtail is the only black and white wagtail left in Africa, especially southern Africa. They have dark white eyebrows and a huge black patch on their throat.

They do not have any one particular habitat. You can see them near human settlements as well as along small water bodies.

Like other birds, they usually do not catch their prey in the air. They roam on the ground to catch insects, wagging their tail in an up-down motion.

Their juvenile is brown and has a resemblance to a lot of tothersimilar species of cape wagtail. Though the cape wagtail is more common, it is easy to find the African wagtail in the wild through their piping call.

Have an interest in birds and want to know about more of them? Here you can know some amazing facts and descriptions about the African pygmy Goose and uguisu.

African Pied Wagtail Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an African pied wagtail?

The African pied wagtail is a type of small-sized bird with a dominant white color on its body. They live in Old World countries and look for their prey on the ground.

What class of animal does an African pied wagtail belong to?

These African pied wagtails belong to the kingdom Animalia, genus Motacilla, and the family Motacillidae. They got their name due to the motion of their wagging tail. Their scientific name is Motacilla aguimp.

How many African pied wagtails are there in the world?

The exact number of the African pied wagtails is not known, but they are not endemic to any country. Their population trend is decreasing. There are three species of wagtails which are the farmland bird yellow wagtail, the migratory bird gray wagtail, and the water body bird pied wagtail.

Where does an African pied wagtail live?

These southern African birds are lakeshore birds and prefer riverbanks that are away from human settlements. They can be seen in Old World countries like Sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia,  south Malawi, Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, and the Central African Republic.

What is an African pied wagtail's habitat?

African pied wagtails birds are tropical and subtropical birds and they  inhabit areas around rivers, brooks, lowland wet grasslands, and freshwater marshes. They can also be seen in small groups living in urban regions, villages, and towns.

You can also go to ponds, wastewater treatment plants, wetlands, or dams to see them. In urban areas, they can be seen near golf courses, gardens, and small forests. They are most commonly seen in Kenya and South Africa.

Who does the African pied wagtail live with?

Their social behavior depends on the breeding season. They are usually found in pairs and create a flock at warm roost places like spillways, sewage, reedbeds, and trees. Once the breeding season ends, their social behavior will depend on the food availability in the region. They can live in solitude or be gregarious in behavior.

How long does an African pied wagtail live?

The average range of the lifespan of these birds is around two to four years. They are small birds and live in the fast lane, but still, the longest lifespan ever recorded for one wagtail was recorded around 11 years and three months.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season for these African pied wagtails birds starts before or during the rainy season and continues to the end of the season. The peak breeding months are from March to October.

This species is monogamous and forms strong bonds with their partners only. The female lays a clutch of four to five eggs and has an incubation period of 11-15 days in the nest.

The babies of this species are fed by both parents. The female lays eggs two times a year and takes care of the babies for four to five weeks.

Their nest is cup-shaped which is built using grass, twigs, sticks, feathers, and is situated near water sites. In urban areas, their nest can be found on buildings, construction sites, or small trees.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), African pied wagtails are under the category of a Least Concern species on the Red List. Their population is mostly stable in the range of southern Africa and South Africa. However, numbers are depleting in eastern and northern Africa.

African Pied Wagtail Fun Facts

What does the African pied wagtail look like?

Their description is very impressive. This African bird has a white face and white belly. The feathers of this species are jet black with bold white in color. Their upperparts are black and the underparts are white with white spot on their wings.

Their bill is concise, thin but pointed. The legs are also black. Their famous long wagtail is black and white in color and is 7 in (20 cm) long. The other two breeds of wagtails which inhabit the regions of the UK have yellow underparts.

African Pied Wagtail

How cute are they?

These tiny birds of the family Motacillidae are extremely cute. The colors on their body are so dark and when they make sweet noises, they look even more adorable. This is not just the case for the African pied wagtail, the other two species of the yellow wagtail and gray wagtail are also extremely cute.

How do they communicate?

These birds make high-pitched calls called 'seel vit'. Their songs are the twittering version of the call. Their calls are fine and sharp.

How big is an African pied wagtail?

The African pied wagtail belongs to the Aves class and is 7.9 in (20 cm) long.  The largest bird under the close stork species is the marabou stork which is six times larger than the African pied wagtail species.

How fast can an African pied wagtail fly?

The flying speed is not known of this bird, but they often sing shrilling songs in their flight.

How much does an African pied wagtail weigh?

The pied wagtail bird found in grasslands weighs around 0.98 oz (27 g).  The magpie bird is a closely related species and weighs around 7-8.8 oz (200-250 g), seven and a half times heavier than the pied wagtail.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to the male and female of this bird. Male pied wagtails have whiteheads and cheeks with black nape and throat, while female pied wagtails are dark gray.

What would you call a baby African pied wagtail?

African pied wagtail babies are called broods. They are gray in color and have white feathers. Their bill is black and the upper parts are brown-gray, while the underparts are yellow-white with gray flanks.

What do they eat?

Though these birds are insectivores, they also eat plant seeds. They also eat tadpoles, small fish, worms, and small flies. They pursue their prey on the ground usually but also catch them in flight. Since they live in urban settlements, they are adapted to human food waste that they find near campsites or at homes.

Are they dangerous?

These cute little birds are not at all dangerous to human beings. They can show aggressive behavior towards other birds if they feel threatened territorially by them.

Would they make a good pet?

These African pied wagtails of the family Motacillidae are rare in forests because they love to be around human beings. It will be a fun task to pet them as they are quite tame. Though they inhabit areas of water bodies and greenery, a home with a small pool or pond will make them even more comfortable.

Did you know...

To attract an African pied wagtail, you can use large lawns with a small water body. They are also tempted by crumbs on the ground.

Do African pied wagtails migrate?

Pied wagtails that live in the UK migrate to warmer regions in the winters. They move to southern parts from the north and sometimes go as far down as North Africa.

What is the difference between a pied wagtail and a white wagtail?

The pied wagtail and the white wagtail are two different subspecies of the same species and the same family genus. In the UK, these two birds are often seen together.

White wagtails have a grayer back and white belly. The pied wagtail is much darker and has dark gray flanks, unlike the white wagtail which has white flanks. White wagtails are more immaculate and neat.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Military Macaw facts and the bird of paradise facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable African pied wagtail coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Nidhi Sahai

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Nidhi Sahai picture

Nidhi SahaiBachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Dedicated and experienced, Nidhi is a professional content writer with a strong reputation for delivering high-quality work. She has contributed her expertise to esteemed organizations, including Network 18 Media and Investment Ltd. Driven by her insatiable curiosity and love for journalism and mass communication, Nidhi pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, graduating with distinction in 2021. During her college years, she discovered her passion for Video Journalism, showcasing her skills as a videographer for her institution. Nidhi's commitment to making a positive impact extends beyond her professional pursuits. Actively engaging in volunteer work, she has contributed to various events and initiatives throughout her academic career.

Read full bio >