willie-wagtail

I drew an angry bird.

Fun fact, in Australia we have birds called Willie Wagtails. They are some of the most fearless buggers ever. They’ll beat up anyone and anything they want. I’ve seen them attack crows and magpies - birds waaay larger than them. They’ll attack people, dogs, cats, they don’t care. During nesting season they claimed our back yard for themselves, and attacked the dogs if they got too close.

They’re these tiny little birds that could fit in your hand, but they’ve got balls the size of a family Volkswagen.

These are one of my favourite bird species.

have you ever heard of the willie wagtail?

they’re a species of tiny asshole Australian bird that don’t know how small they are and spend 80% of their time picking fights with animals bigger than them, and the other 20% taunting cats by shaking their little butts and yelling

look

god gave them eyebrows so the world would know they’re always down to fight

no fear

3

This is not a quoll. It is a willy wagtail.

Around here there are two instances where you’re likely to hear willy wagtails. The first is the vaguely pleasant birdsong during dawn. Usually they’re the first up. The second is their strident alarm call, the willy wagtail equivalent of “piss off!”, which is a much more common sound and presumably the source of their traditional Noongar name, djidji-djidji.

#746 - Rhipidura leucophrys - Willy Wagtail
Despite the name, not actually a Wagtail - the Eurasian Wagtails are the family Motacillicidae, and these cheeky little buggers are Fantails, the Rhipiduridae, which while still Passerines, have been classified in a “core corvine” group with the crows and ravens, shrikes, birds of paradise, monarch flycatchers, drongos and mudnest builders.

Very common around Australia, and one of the most frequently seen urban birds. Other common names include shepherd’s companion (because it accompanied livestock), frogbird, morning bird, and Australian nightingale. Many Aboriginal names were based on the sound of its scolding call - for example  Djididjidi is a name from the Kimberley, and Djigirridjdjigirridj is used by the Gunwinggu of western Arnhem Land. In Central Australia, southwest of Alice Springs, the Pitjantjatjara word is tjintir-tjintir(pa). Among the Kamilaroi, it is thirrithirri. In Bougainville Island, it is called tsiropen in the Banoni language from the west coast, and in Awaipa of Kieta district it is maneka. In Solomon Islands Pijin it is sometimes called the polis (police) or pris (priest) bird, because of its black-and-white colouring (and quite possibly its habit to of coming around to yell at you). Widely featured in Aboriginal folklore around the country as either a bringer of bad news, or stealer of secrets.

Highly territorial and fearless, harrying much larger species such as the Australian magpie, ravens, kookaburras, and wedge-tailed eagle, as well as dogs, cats and any humans which approach its nest too closely. They’ve also been observed harassing snake-neck turtles and tiger snakes here in Western Australia.

The nests are built away from cover (quite often on on rafters, or near the nests of the equally territorial magpie-larks) and the young have about 6 weeks between being laid and the parents driving them off to fend for themselves. They might raise 4 broods a season this way. The nest below was built just over the edge of a small lake, at head height, and BOY did the parents object to me taking an interest.


September 12, 2014 - Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys)

Requested by: coramatus

Willie Wagtails live in mainland Australia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Maluku Islands. They eat insects, hunting mostly on the ground and often wagging their tail from side to side as they move around. They weave their nests from grasses and spider webs, lining them with soft grass and fur, sometimes taken from a live animal. These birds are very territorial and are often aggressive toward larger birds, such as eagles.