Talk:Willie wagtail

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Featured article Willie wagtail is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on September 9, 2014.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
June 18, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
August 4, 2008 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article


Can this page be re-named please? It's spelt wrong - they're willy wagtails not willie wagtails.

Please sign your posts (put 4 of these ~ at the end). I agree. Unless there has been a ruling by ICZN or some other authority that the spelling is now "willie" wagtail, they are properly "willy" wagtails. There are a number of organisations (some ref'd in the article) who spell it incorrectly but that doesn't make it true. I will move this article to Willy Wagtail if nobody objects. Is there a tag for this? Secret Squïrrel 04:14, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Willie is correct[edit]

Have moved the page back. 'Willie' is correct spelling. See: Christidis & Boles, HANZAB and Schodde & Mason. These are the authoritative sources for Australian bird names. Maias 00:45, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

But can we still use the two spellings interchangeably? Or would it be preferable to only refer to them as "Willie Wagtails".Clinton1550 (talk) 11:36, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Photo Gallery[edit]

Rhipidura Lleucophrys clip

I've added another photo of a Wagtail to the gallery, I hope no one objects to it. It does tie in nicely with the others nesting as this one was nesting and it started to dive bomb me.Clinton1550 (talk) 11:34, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, it's nice and shows the primaries really well but is a little dark (presumably because of the sky backround). Any chance of pushing the gamma up to brighten the dark areas (ie most of the subject!). Should be able to do it without "overexposing" the background. Thanks, Secret Squïrrel, approx 09:30, 28 February 2008 (Earth Standard Time)

I can add a revised version in the next couple of daysClinton1550 (talk) 12:58, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

A new version of the photo is up, I decided to crop the image as well as adjusting the image.Clinton1550 (talk) 02:28, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Lovely. Secret Squïrrel, approx 00:40, 2 March 2008 (Earth Standard Time)

I have added a little video, feel free to flex your edit muscle and delete if redundant Tradimus (talk) 11:42, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This article meets the GA criteria. The full review can be found here. Dr. Cash (talk) 22:04, 18 June 2008 (UTC)


I ran a quick ce, nothing much of note.

  1. Tail wagging seems to be mentioned at least four times.
  2. ssp size, I assume larger/smaller are compared to nominate, not sure that's clear
  3. anything on status?

jimfbleak (talk) 15:22, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

comments by delldot talk[edit]

Very nice article, Cas, though I would expect nothing less. A few comments for now, I can finish later:

  • due to its accompanying of livestock sounds awkward. Maybe because it accompanied livestock? Does this mean it was often found near livestock? Also, I'd put this item first or last in the list since it's the only one with an explanation. (done)
  • ravens, shrikes, birds of paradise, monarch flycatchers, drongos and mudnest builders--I found it odd that these weren't wikilinked. (good pick, up)
  • the nominate subspecies, is the most widely distributed subspecies found in Australia--Could you elide the second subspecies? (done)
  • I think you could probably do away with "The description below refers to it" and add "than leucophrys" in the two places it's needed. You could also expand There is negligible variation to There is negligible variation among the subspecies, if that's what this sentence is trying to say. It seems to be contradicted by It is significantly larger. (clarified)
  • I think the MOS discourages approx in favor of about, but I could be wrong.
  • Immature birds... while juvenile birds for us readers unfamiliar with birds, what's the difference between immature and juvenile? Ideally, there could be an age range, if you could find it. (sort of - its based on first moult after fledging. better)
  • the last bird seen was at Koko Head in 1937--This reads a little awkward to me. Maybe the last bird to be sighted? the last sighting? the last time one was sighted? Still not perfect. (just 'last sighting' then - agree it is tricky)
  • If you want to drop a wagging reference per Jimfbleak, I'd recommend the one in the description section. (yep)

Back in a bit. delldot talk 15:35, 12 July 2008 (UTC)


  • A wide variety of arthropods are consumed - passive voice sounds weird here. (was trying to minimise sentences starting with 'it', but I think there are better way. done)
  • There's some confusion with antecedents of it and they in these sentences: It has been recorded killing small lizards such as skinks and geckos in a study in Madang on Papua New Guinea's north coast.[36] The tailbones of these lizards have been found in their faeces although it is unclear whether the whole animal was eaten or merely the tail. Either way they are only a very occasional prey item forming between 1 and 3% of the total diet. Also, I don't know if it's good to start the next paragraph with it. There are a few more cases where sentences start with it which I think are awkward.
  • Maybe integrate the two-sentence paragraph starting The Willie Wagtail kills its prey... into another one. The two sentences aren't related, so they don't stand well in a paragraph by themselves. I would put the first sentence at the end of the previous paragraph, and the second could go in the first, possibly even at the beginning as a transition. Otherwise maybe at the end of the first paragraph. (working on all this)
  • Birds generally pair for life. - does this mean that the birds in this species generally pair for life, or am I about to read about how the Willie Wagtail differs from this general trend for all birds?
  • The breeding season for the Willie Wagtail is from July to December, with anywhere up to four broods taking place, and occurring after rain in drier regions. - I found this confusing. Maybe pair the first and third parts of the sentence. With is kind of an awkward linking word. Also, is it proper to say broods 'take place'? In the next paragraph, can a brood be 'embarked on'?
  • It has been observed to build its nest in the vicinity of those of the Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca), possibly taking advantage of the latter bird's territoriality and aggression toward intruders. - It's strange to see this as an advantage--why doesn't this territorial bird attack the Willie Wagtail?
  • Similarly, they are not afraid to build near human habitation. This paragraph switches between it and they and active and passive voice.
  • The first two paragraphs discuss both nests and eggs/chicks; would it make more sense to have one paragraph for nests and one for eggs/chicks?
  • The predator paragraph doesn't give me much of a feel for how often it happens, just lists the species that prey on them.

That's it from me, hope it's helpful. delldot talk 16:44, 12 July 2008 (UTC)


[1] need to follow this up. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 13:09, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Pic of the day[edit]

Nice to see Willy wagtail featured in POD, but apart from photogperfection, admit the bird itself the scrappiest state of a wagtail I've seen. Even in the bush wild, they're more sartorial than this. :) If this is a moulting state, should it be mentioned in the caption? Julia Rossi (talk) 08:57, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

You're right. It never clicked with me that it was moulting, which is obvious when you look at the state of it. I wasn't confident enough to categorically state it though. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:55, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Breeding season[edit]

I'm not so sure about the breeding season. I've seen other websites listing the breeding season as: up to January and even February. And, I've been observing a pair in my backyard, and they have recently bread in January too, and possibly beyond that. (I lost track of them at that point, their nests are hard to spot) Vince (talk) 11:50, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

I guess it could be later if you're further south. The tricky bit is sourcing. I have been tempted to put material based on personal observation before but we stick to Reliable Sources here. If I get a chance I might look again at what sources say - if you find one that says they breed later then it can be changed/added. cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 19:30, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Marchant (1974) gives the breeding season as mid-August to late January. Melburnian (talk) 23:55, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

File:Willie wagtail in nest.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Willie wagtail in nest.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on February 15, 2011. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2011-02-15. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page so Wikipedia doesn't look bad. :) Thanks! howcheng {chat} 06:00, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Picture of the day
Willie Wagtail in nest

A female Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys), a passerine bird native to Australasia. The Willie Wagtail is a common and familiar bird throughout much of its range. Males and females are coloured with almost entirely black upperparts and white underparts. The common name is derived from its habit of wagging its tail horizontally when foraging on the ground.

Photo: Fir0002
ArchiveMore featured pictures...

Behavioural Ecology and Notes on Improvement[edit]

The willie wagtail entry is actively edited by Wikipedians. Under the talk tab, many Wikipedians have left comments on naming, photos and content and there are additional members who have responded. I think this article is a well-written one, with plenty of details and photos to provide readers with a well-rounded knowledge of this particular species. The breeding section talks mainly about post-mating parental care. Its only mentioning of mating is that willie wagtails usually pair for life. I assume that this means they are monogamous. I would add more details about their mating process. For example, if they are monogamous and therefore probably invest equally in parental care, will willie wagtail, like great crested grebes, evolve ornamental features both in males and females? Even if willie wagtail is presumably monogamous, does extra-pair mating ever happen and how would the social mate react to this? The article also talks about Cuckoos laying eggs in wagtail’s nest but the wagtail usually recognizes foreign eggs and gets rid of them in time. More interspecific exploitation or relation in general can be elaborated more here. Moreover, the current status of willie wagtail can be supplemented to make the page more complete. Tianyi Cai (talk) 12:38, 26 September, 2012 (UTC)

Suggest topic creation: (Known) Predators[edit]

Sorry, I'm not an expert so don't mind my lack of jargon.

I was looking for and found a small list of predators in the 'breeding' topic and thought it might deserve its own section. I would like to add goannas as a predator, but don't have 'evidence', just what I saw when I spent the summer (21 Dec - 4 Jan) at my folks' place down near Tamworth. Maybe someone could look into a real reference for it? Anyway, here's the tale if it's worth anything:

I watched a nest of 4 newborns being fed and protected by their parents (that chit-chit-chit noise can get really annoying!). One day I heard the parents going off like mad along with a few other birds in the reserve which sits beside the property, and went out to investigate. A goanna (markings similar to a Spencer, Lace, or Perentie [1] - again no expert and the colouring was much bolder - dark brown and yellow/orange) was making its way through the reserve to the property. I watched the adult making the cranky parent noise and the babies ducked down in the nest (the nest sits on top of the downpipe under the roof and the adult was flying around but not close to it); the other went flitting from a gum tree about 20 metres away to snip at the goanna several times in a way that looked like it wanted to get its attention. When the lizard climbed the tree and realized there was no nest, it climbed down again, but must've been far enough away that the other adult could join in the fight, and they both swooped and chitted at it until it went slinking farther back in the reserve. (talk) 03:22, 7 January 2014 (UTC)Jen

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