Shepherd's Companion, Black and White Fantail
and Australian Nightingale
are similar in appearance. 190 to 210mm in length. Upper parts and throat
are black. Conspicuous white eyebrow. Underparts are white. Thighs are
black. Eye, bill and feet are black.
The Willie Wagtail can be found throughout most of mainland Australia and in the north of Tasmania. Its preferred habitat is open country including farm land and lightly timbered areas, it avoid dense forests. Its name is quite appropriate as when standing the bird wags its tail from side to side and most of the body also sways rhythmically. It is a restless bird always on the move. The Willie Wagtail is aggressive when near its nest site and often swoops on bird much bigger than itself. Breeding season is mostly between August and January but the bird can breed at any time during good conditions. During breeding season rivals expose and expand the white eyebrow as a territorial display and the bird becomes more aggressive. The eyebrow is withdrawn completely in submissive birds and shows the end of a territorial dispute. The nest, built by both sexes, is a small cup of grass held together with spider web, between one and 15 metres high. The nest can be dismantled and rebuilt elsewhere during the breeding season. Two to three eggs are laid and incubated by both sexes for 14 to 15 days. Several broods can be reared per season. Young fledge in 14 days. The diet consist of insects which are pecked at on the ground and also taken in flight.
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