Willie Wagtail

The Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) is found almost anywhere in Australia except in dense forest. It is a very common and mostly sedentary bird. It is black and fan tailed with white underparts sharply cut off below the breast. It has white eyebrows which can be expanded in an aggressive situation to show dominance and it has a slim white whisker mark.

The willie wagtail takes insects in twisting flight, in foliage, on the ground or floating vegetation, disturbing insects by jerky motions and sweeping its tail.

It breeds from August to January, sometimes raising 2 to 3 broods in a season. The nest is a small, very neat grey cup on a horizontal branch made from fine grasses, soft bark and felted with spiders' webs, often over or near water and in the same tree as a magpie lark or a white-winged triller nesting. The nest is often re-used in a season. There are 2 to 4 eggs. The song is heard in all seasons and often on a moonlit night. "Sweet pretty creature" is its most common sweet spirited call, and has a scolding rattle is "rikka-tikka-tikka-tik". (Contributed by Jo G.)