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Development of Willie Wagtail chicks

(Rhipidura leucophrys)
Alternate name(s): "Black-and-white Fantail", "Shepherd's Companion", "Wagtail", "Frogbird", "Morning-bird","Gossipbird", "Messengerbird"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "picata": "deereeree", "dhirriirrii" [yuwaalaraay], "dhirridhirri" [gamilaraay]; "jindirr-jindirr"/"jinggir-jinggihr"/"jinggir-jinggir"/"jingir-jingir"/"jigir-jigir [bundjalung]; "jigirrjigirr" [ngadjon]; "tjerrap tjerrap" [tjapwurrung]; "djitidjiti", "wilaring" (WA); "jitta jitta" [bibbulbum], "jenning-gherrie", "mugana", "tityarokan";

Size: 19-22 cm (tail 10-11 cm)
Weight: 17-24 g

Back to the Willie Wagtail main page .

The following describes the development of a clutch of Willie Wagtail chicks up until the day of fledging. All information and photos presented on this page have kindly been contributed by R. Druce.

The first sequence of photos shows the female bird sitting down on the nest and inspecting the eggs.

Female Willie Wagtail approaching the nest... (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

... stepping onto the rim... (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

... and making herself comfortable... (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

... before sitting down properly (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

Just making sure everything is ok down there... (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

The following series of photos shows the development of the chicks from about day 8 to 14. This sequence shows that up to day 8 most of the development goes into growth; at that point the chicks are still basically naked, except for a bit of down on their heads. In week 2 the development changes into the phase of them filling out and growing their first plumage.

Chicks at around 8 days of age (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

Day 8 once again, different viewing angle, now showing 3 chicks (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

Four days later, aged about 12 days, the chicks are well on the way to developing their first plumage (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

Another two days later, now aged 14 days, the feathers have completely unfolded; the next morning the chicks left the nest and flew for the first time (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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