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The Southern Motacilla


M. cinera, subtus flava.

N.B. Gula fere albida.

Ash-coloured Motacilla, yellow beneath.

N.B. The throat inclines a little to whitish.

It is not perhaps absolutely clear whether this bird should be referred to the genus Motacilla, or Muscicapa: the probability, however, is in favour of Motacilla.

The bird is about the size of the Motacilla flava of Linnæus, or yellow wagtail, but seems of a stouter make. The beak is of a pale colour, and the legs brown. The two middle tail-feathers have the very extremities slightly marked with white.

The genus Motacilla is extremely numerous, and it is not easy to fix upon a proper or expressive trivial name. Such names should, if possible, convey some idea either of the colour or some other circumstance relative to the manners or habits of the animal; but in new species, whose history is unknown, this is impracticable. The trivial name, therefore, of Australis may be allowable, though it cannot be regarded as sufficiently distinctive.

Colour plate facing page 239 of 'The Southern Motacilla'