Willie Wagtail

The Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophyrs leucophyrs) is a passerine songbird. It is not related to the Eurasian Wagtail in the Motacillidae family. It is related to the crow, raven, drongo, and bird of paradise. It wags its tail from side to side when it is on the ground.

The Willie Wagtail has black upperparts and white underparts. It has a white eyebrow. It has a black fantail. It has a short, thin, black beak, which has a hooked tip. It has long, black legs for its size. 

Willie Wagtail

It grows to 19-22 centimetres (7-9 inches) tall. 

It is native to Australia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Bismarck Archipelago, and eastern Indonesia. It is widespread and lives in many habitats, but not thick forests.

It is insectivorous, eating a range of insects. It chases its prey in open habitats. It rarely sits still – it is always moving around. 

It pairs for life. It builds a cup-shaped nest on a tree branch. The nest is made from grass, bark, feathers, fur from animals, and spider webs. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which hatch after 14 days. Only the female sits on the eggs. 

The chicks are altricial, which means that they are born naked, blind, and helpless. The chicks stay in the nest for about 14 days before they can fly. 

Willie Wagtail
Willie Wagtail
Willie Wagtail

[Location of photographs: Adelaide, Australia]

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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