Monday, October 29, 2012

Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys

I forgot about adding this little bird to my list. There are not many of them in Tenterfield anymore. I'm not sure just how many there were in town before birds started disappearing around 2004 - 2006.

The Willy Wagtail is an insect eater. It catches insects either in flight or walks around and disturbs insects in the grass by flapping it's wings. This species is known for it's tail wagging movements. It is a black and white bird with a black throat and has white eyebrows and whisker markings. A breeding pair usually form a life long bond and will stay together with each other.

The Willy Wagtail is one of the very few birds that sings for most of the night. This occurs mostly in Winter but can continue into Spring. The males have been heard singing around midnight until just before dawn. Then it has a break whilst the sun rises and then starts singing again about 10 - 30 minutes later.

Their night time calls have been recorded by me but I had to delete most of them due to poor audio quality and an inaccurate sound recording recorded by my mobile phones. Their songs of a night time tend to change and can be slightly different each night. The male and female of this species is almost identical.

The main predator of the Willy Wagtail is the Torresian Crow which will steal and eat their eggs and their young nestlings. The Willy Wagtail numbers were I live have not increased due to predator attacks of their nest, year in and year out.

One of the first videos I took of a Willy Wagtail. It was preening itself on the
fence but did not make a noise. It's a Torresian Crow's call you hear in this video.


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