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Description: The Willie Wagtail belongs to the Fantail family and is the largest, and possibly most well-known, of that family. They grow from 18.5 to 21.5 cm. Their feathers are black on top with a white tummy. The Willie Wagtail is different from other similar sized black and white birds because it has a black throat and white
eyebrows and whisker marks. It is called a "wagtail" because it constantly wags its tail in a sideways motion. Young birds look like its parents, but have paler, slightly rusty edges on the feathers of their wings.

Voice: The Willie Wagtail’s call is well-known, often being made constantly throughout the night, and is interpreted as "sweet-pretty-creature", though it also makes other calls that have more scolding and chattering notes. Its alarm note is a cranky sound.

Habitat: Willie Wagtails are found in open forests and woodlands. They prefer the wetter areas, with lots of leaf-litter, for feeding, and mud that is available for building their nest. They are found throughout
most of the Eastern and South-eastern mainland of Australia, but are not found in Northern Queensland.
The Willie Wagtail lives almost any habitat except for very dense forests, and is commonly seen where people live. It is widely distributed in Australia and northern Tasmania. Although the Willie Wagtail is most often seen singly or in pairs, they may form flocks in Winter and often mix with other types of birds.

Food: Willie Wagtails are very active when they feed, darting around lawns as they hunt for insects on the ground with their tails wagging from side to side. Insects are also captured in the air, in active chases. Willie Wagtails are often seen with domestic and farm animals, like cattle and sheep, where they may run behind them while they are moving and snatch the insects as they are disturbed. Sometimes they sit on the back of the animal, and dart off to capture a flying insect before returning to its mobile perch.

Breeding: Willie Wagtails are active in defending their territory, but they are very tolerant and tame around humans, often feeding and nesting close to houses and human activity. Willie Wagtails can nest at any time of the year, but breeding season is mainly from August to February. The nest is a neatly woven cup made of grasses, covered with spider’s web on the outside and lined inside with soft grasses, hair or fur. The soft lining of the
nest, if not found elsewhere, is often taken directly from an animal as they ride along looking for food.

Willie Wagtails may be re-use their nest in successive years, or an old nest is often destroyed and the materials used in the construction of a new nest. The nests are normally built on a horizontal branch of a tree, or other similar structure. The female lays three, cream-coloured eggs, which are speckled with grey and brown. Both male and female sit on the eggs and the young birds hatch after about 14 days. They leave the nest after a further two weeks but stay with the parents until the eggs from the next clutch start to hatch. Then they are driven away by the parents. If conditions are favourable, the couple may raise up to four clutches in a row, in a single season.

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