The Cape longclaw
Birding on the Vaal Dam
The Cape longclaw or orange-throated longclaw (Macronyx capensis) is a passerine bird in the family Motacillidae, which comprises the longclaws, pipits and wagtails. It occurs in Southern Africa in Zimbabwe and southern and eastern South Africa. This species is found in coastal and mountain grassland, often near water.
The Cape longclaw is a 19–20 cm long. The adult male has a grey head with a buff supercilium and a streaked blackish back. It has a bright orange gorget, black breast band and otherwise yellow underparts. The female is duller, having a yellow throat and much weaker breast band. The juvenile has a dirty yellow throat, indistinct breast band, and yellowish white underparts.
The Cape longclaw is usually found in pairs throughout the year. It feeds on the ground on insects and some seeds. The song is a musical cheewit cheewit, the contact call is tsweet, and there is also a mewling alarm call.
This species has a striking resemblance to the unrelated icterid meadowlarks, grassland birds of the Americas. This is presumably due to convergent evolution.