An evil looking bird

Willie Wagtail at one of our bird baths

I was recently sorting through a few of my bird photos and came across this shot of a Willie Wagtail at one of the bird baths in our garden. Nothing unusual about that; they come most days for a drink or a bath.

What struck me about the photo was how evil the eyes of the harmless little Willie Wagtail can sometimes look, especially when enlarged like the shot above. It seems to be saying: ‘Don’t mess with me, buster.’

In reality, this species is known for its feisty attitude towards other bird species, especially any who dare come near to their nest or young. I have even seen one attacking our largest raptor, the Wedge-tailed Eagle. This eagle has a wingspan of about 280cm, whereas the little Willie Wagtail would be stretching to span 20cm. In fact, the Willie Wagtail is not slow at attacking a human, often swooping and even giving one a peck on the head for getting too close to the babies.

For comparison, I’ve included below the original photo before I enlarged it.

Willie Wagtail at one of our bird baths


4 Responses to “An evil looking bird”

  1. Louise says:

    I love a Willie Wagtail as much as the next person. Just lately I’ve been driving past a paddock that has half a dozen goats, and quite often there is a willie wagtail sitting on one of the goats. I’m not sure what he does up there but I hope to try and get a picture of it one day.

  2. Trevor says:

    Hi Louise,

    Willie Wagtails are closely related to the flycatcher family of birds, so my guess is that it is looking for insects hanging around the goats. The back of the goat would also give it a good vantage point to observe any insects stirred up by the goat, and it would them swoop down a catch lunch. Riding the goats back would be saving energy because it doesn’t have to fly around looking for insects. Clever bird.

    I’ve also seen them perched on sheep, cattle and kangaroos. Same process at work.

    The most interesting one however, was last spring when I was trying to control some grass on our property with our ride on mower. Every time I went out to mow, our resident WW would follow me, catching the insects stirred up by the mower. It sometimes came so close it was in danger of being run over!

  3. Tammy says:

    Its the eyebrows 🙂 In my opinion, sometimes those little white eyebrows show such determination and potential menace but with a cock of the head its curiosity 😉

  4. Craig says:

    Tres cool.

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