Nature Queries Answered | Willie wagtail sexes are alike

Is there any difference between a male and a female willy wagtail? We have a pair on our property and I cannot notice any difference. S.J., Haddon.

IDENTICAL: Willie wagtails look the same. Picture: Shutterstock.com

IDENTICAL: Willie wagtails look the same. Picture: Shutterstock.com

Male and female willie wagtails are identical in appearance, and there is no noticeable difference in size between the sexes.

Behaviour may indicate whether a bird is male or female, with a male likely to be more aggressive and territorial.

He probably calls more than the female.

At nesting time, it is the female that is likely to undertake most of the incubation.

There are probably a few other minor differences in behaviour that you might notice as spring progresses.

A willie wagtail’s white eyebrow mark can be expanded in aggressive display, or reduced in submission.

  • Questions and photos are welcome. Send to Roger Thomas at The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353, or email to rthomas@vic.australis.com.au