General Description

Black with white underparts and white eyebrows. They spread their tail out like a fan and continually wag it from side to side. The bill to tail length is up to 22 cm.


Willie Wagtails are usually found singly or in pairs. They can form winter flocks mixed with other species. They catch insects on the ground or in flight and will follow or perch on livestock, catching insects disturbed by their movements. They sometimes eat small lizards. They are highly territorial and call repeatedly at night during the breeding season to advertise their territory. Their nest is a neat, shallow woven cup constructed from grasses lined with soft grasses, hair, feathers or fur plucked directly from animals. The outside is covered in spider webs. Nests are built on a horizontal branch and are re-used over multiple years. A breeding pair can raise up to four clutches of eggs in a season. Young birds remain with their parents until the eggs from the successive clutch hatch. They are Australia's largest fantail.


Mainland Australia and offshore islands (except Tasmania). Also New Guinea, Indonesia, Solomon Islands and the Bismarck Archipelago.


Most open areas, especially forests and woodlands. Common in urban areas.

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