Pipits and Wagtails (Motacillidae)

Cape Wagtail (Motacilla capensis) - HBW 9, p. 784

French: Bergeronnette du Cap German: Kapstelze Spanish: Lavandera de El Cabo
Other common names: Angolan Wagtail (simplicissima); Wells’s Wagtail (wellsi)

Taxonomy: Motacilla capensis Linnaeus, 1766, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.
Sometimes thought to form a superspecies with M. flaviventris; both also suggested as comprising a superspecies with M. flava and M. citreola, but such a relationship is not supported by recent molecular-genetic studies. Race simplicissima sometimes treated as a separate species. Proposed races bradfieldi (from W Namibia) and beirensis (S Mozambique) included in nominate. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • wellsi Ogilvie-Grant, 1911 - E DRCongo E to SW Uganda and NW Tanzania, and W & C Kenya.
  • simplicissima Neumann, 1929 - Angola E to SE DRCongo, S to NE Namibia, N Botswana and Zambia, and W Zimbabwe (on R Zambezi).
  • capensis Linnaeus, 1766 - W & S Namibia, SE Botswana, much of Zimbabwe and W & S Mozambique S to S South Africa.