Willie Wagtail

Rhipidura leucophrys

The Willie Wagtail can be distinguished from other similar-sized black and white birds by its black throat, white eyebrows and whisker marks, black upper body with white under parts. It is the largest of the Australian fantails measuring up to 21.5cm. It is found all over Australia apart from dense and wet forest areas and it is absent from Tasmania. It is well known for the constant sideways wagging of the tail as it sings.

It is often found around people nesting close to houses and can be observed on the back of farm animals darting off to capture a flying insect and then return to its mobile perch or run behind the moving animal snatching insects as they are disturbed.

 Breeding season is August to February but they may breed all year round if conditions are favourable. The nest is cup shaped and woven from soft grass, even using hair and fur pinched from the back of farm animals to line the inside. It is finished on the outside with spider’s web. This nest may be used to raise many clutches in succession or the material used to build a new nest. The chicks are fully fledged at two weeks old, both male and female share the duty of raising the chicks. The young birds stay with the parents until the eggs from the next clutch start to hatch at which time they are told to leave the area.


Images by Alex Wilson





©Wildlife Mountain 2000 - 2017


We would also like to acknowledge the amazing support and help we have had from the Lismore Vet Clinic who have been an invaluable support to both us and the native wildlife of this region.

All native birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are proteced under the Wildlife Act 1975, they may not be captured or harmed in any way without an authority issued under the Wildlife Act.