Species Index

Rhipidura leucophrys
(Latham, 1810)

Common Name: Willie Wagtail

Distribution: Found throughout mainland Australia, absent from Tasmania. It is sedentary across most of Australia, though some areas have recorded seasonal movements.

Ecological notes: Frequents most open habitats, especially open forests and woodlands, tending to be absent from wet sclerophyll forests and rainforests. Common around human habitation and watercourses, wetland areas. A very active bird, it hunts small insects and spiders on the ground and actively pursues them in the air. On the ground is constantly moving the tail from side to side, hence its common name.

Additional notes: The Willie Wagtail is very tolerant of humans, often feeding and nesting in close proximity of houses and human activity. The species generally is observed singly or in pairs. The species is very vocal, with a variety of calls, including the commonly heard ‘chittit-chittit-chittit’ contact call.


The complete guide to Australian Birds. George Adams. Penguin Random House Australia 2018. p462.

Birds in Backyards at Accessed 17/08/2023.