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Cape Wagtail (Afr: Gewone Kwikkie)
A familiar, grey and white bird with a longish tail. Size 19-20cm - about the size of a sparrow, but more slender with a longish tail.

Species Picture

The Cape Wagtail is a brownish-grey and white bird, with a longish tail and a short, straight and pointed bill. The bill, legs and feet are all blackish.

The upper parts are brownish grey with white marks on the wing feathers. The top of the head is grey-brown and it has a white eyebrow. The underparts whitish, with more greyish colour on the flanks. There is a narrow grey breast band, which forms a "v" shape. The outer tail feathers are whitish, and are visible in flight

This is a common and familiar bird of gardens and the urban areas in general, showing a particular affinity for lawns and man-made water features. It is seen singly, in pairs or family parties, but may occur in loose flocks when not breeding. It walks purposefully along the ground, and wags it's tail deeply when standing still, or landing on something. It is often associated with water, and forages along the edges of dams, rivers and streams, even catching prey from the water surface. It often chases into the air after insects and sings from a raised perch - such as the top of a roof.

The Cape Wagtail is very sensitive to the use of pesticides in insect control and may disappear from areas where pesticides are over-used.

The Cape Wagtail nests all year around, but mainly in the summer months. It builds a nest which has a neat cup situated at the top of a bulky foundation of grass, weeds, rags and rootlets. The nest is usually placed in a hole in a stream bank, wall, under the eaves of a building on the ground or in almost any suitable locality.

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