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Species: Motacilla cinerea schmitzi Tschusi, 1900
This bird is easily recognized when at rest by the way it pumps its long tail strongly up and down. It has a distinguishing undulating manner of flight, generally accompanied by a sharp double call.
The body is elegant with yellow breast and underparts, a distinct pale supercilium, and a dark grey back from the head down to the long tail, with the wings being darker. The male can be distinguished from the female by a black bib.
The sub-species endemic to Madeira is distinguished from other sub-species (European, Canaries, Azores) by its darker back.
This subspecies is evenly distributed throughout the entire island of Madeira, from the sea-shore up to the high zones, being found more commonly in moist areas close to water courses.
The Grey Wagtail may choose various types of habitat but all of these must have water present in the form of small streams, water courses, wells, etc.
The nest is normally built in the form of a tea-cup, in rock crevices or between stream-side vegetation roots, under bridges or in walls. The bird lays from 4 to 6 eggs in each of two clutches that may be laid between April and August.
Madeiran name: Lavandeira
Madeira Island resident breeder
Social: Family groups
Length: 18 – 19 cm
Correia-Fagundes, C & H Romano. 2011. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea schmitzi. Available at www.madeirabirds.com/grey_wagtail_motacilla_cinerea_schmitzi [Accessed "Date"].