It is widely featured in Aboriginal folklore around Australia and New Guinea in a variety of roles, from stealer of secrets and liar to a good omen for successful crops. Much of their time is spent on the ground. The Willie Wagtail can be distinguished from other similar-sized black and white birds by its black throat and white eyebrows and whisker marks. Description: Small and mostly black, willie wagtails have almost entirely black upperparts and white underparts and eyebrow. It is believed that having a Willie (or Willy) wagtail as your animal totem brings you to live with the feeling of excitement and gregariousness. Willie Wagtail compiled distribution map - BirdLife International. In flight they beat their wings deeply, interspersing with a swift flying dip and characteristically wag their tail upon landing after a short dipping flight. Willie Wagtail, Rufous Fantail. The Grey Fantail feeds on flying insects, which it catches by chasing them from the edge of foliage at all levels in the canopy. The Wagtail uses grasses, spider webs, hair and fur to construct its nest and will reuse the materials to rebuild its nest if necessary. The Willie (or willy) wagtail is the most familiar songbird found in Australia. Some parts of the population are migratory whilst others are sedentary. The male is a stunning bird with striking yellow underparts that extend up onto the face and greenish-yellow upperparts. Habitat: The Grey Fantail is found in most treed habitats. These chirpy birds have a number of distinct calls during both the day and night. Stephen T Garnett ST and Crowley GM 2000. Resolution: 1800x1441: Viewed: 93: ID: 43016: Comment The name wagtail stems from the constant sideways wagging of the tail. They wag their fan-like tail as they hop about feeding on insects. The Kalam people of New Guinea highlands called the Willie wagtail 'konmayd', and deemed it a good bird; if it came and chattered when a new garden was tilled, then there would be good crops. Trend justification: The population is suspected to be increasing as ongoing habitat degradation is creating new areas of suitable habitat (del Hoyo et al. The female lays 2 to 4 small cream-white eggs with brownish markings and incubates them for 14 days. If conditions are favorable will breed throughout the year, but generally between August and December. Wildscreen's Arkive project was launched in 2003 and grew to become the world's biggest encyclopaedia of life on Earth. Widespread and abundant, the willie wagtail is found across most of Australia and New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Bismarck Archipelago, and eastern Indonesia. Willie wagtails are energetic birds; they are almost always on the move and rarely still for more than a few moments during daylight hours. Seasonal movements: Appears to undergo a partial northern migration during winter. Willie wagtails are highly territorial and can be quite fearless in defense of their territory; they will harry not only small birds but also much larger species and may even attack domestic dogs, cats, and humans that approach their nest too closely. They are sedentary across most of Australia and are autumn and winter visitors to northeastern New South Wales and southeast Queensland, as well as the Gulf Country and parts of the Cape York Peninsula in the far north. Its common name is derived from its habit of wagging its tail horizontally when foraging on the ground. Other names applied for Willie wagtails include shepherd's companion (because it accompanied livestock), frogbird, morning bird, and Australian nightingale. From time to time one of them comes to visit […] Listen to an audio clip of the willie wagtail The Department of Environment and Science collects personal information from you, including information about your email address and telephone number. Aggressive and territorial, the Willie Wagtail will often harass much larger birds even the Kookaburra and Wedge Tailed Eagle. The plumage is black above with a white belly. The plumage is black above with a white belly. Break out your top hats and monocles; it’s about to classy in here. The Department of Environment and Science is committed to respecting, protecting and promoting human rights, and our obligations under the Human Rights Act 2019. Once the wagtail has even been observed attempting to take hair from a pet goat. The field guide to the birds of Australia. We collect this information to contact you with any follow-up questions. What does it do? 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