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Willie Wagtail

(Rhipidura leucophrys)
Alternative names: "Black-and-white Fantail", "Shepherd's Companion", "Wagtail", "Frogbird", "Morning-bird","Gossipbird", "Messengerbird"
Aboriginal names: "jitta jitta" [bibbulbum], "jindirr-jindirr", "jenning-gherrie", "mugana", "tityarokan", "deereereeree", "dhirriirrii" [yuwaalaraay], "dhirridhirri" [gamilaraay]

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

Back to the Willie Wagtail main page .

Practical use

Out in the bush Willie Wagtails can be used as sentries. Being very alert, they can warn notice, and warn of, the approach of a person.

Spiritual significance

The Willie Wagtail features in some Aboriginal creation stories. A few examples are reproduced or listed here.

K. L. Parker (J. Lambert ed.) tells the story of "The Wagtail and the Rainbow" (p. 111; Inner Traditions International, 1993 ed.).

Under the title "The Storms of the Willy-Wagtail" R. A. Roberts and C. P. Mountford (1968 ed.), p. 40, explain the mostly negative image the Willie Wagtail has in Aboriginal mythology.

Disclaimer: Not being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, we make no claim of intellectual ownership of any of the information presented here. We merely collect facts and stories documented by others. Credits/references are listed HERE.

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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