The sound of the Willie Wagtail is synonymous with the Australian bush, found in almost all habitats across the entire continent. For Indigenous Australians it has a special significance, both venerated and feared at the same time. Not surprisingly it features prominently in aboriginal folklore and language, known typically by local names that mirror its voice of ‘sweet agitation’.
While I’m sure the Dja Dja Wurrung people of central Victoria had a special name for the Willie Wagtail (help please!), the neighbouring Tjapwurrung call it tjerrap tjerrap, while the Wiradjuri further north know it as djirrijirri.
I was surprised to see this pair yesterday evening along the Loddon tending a nest. It is at least their second nesting effort for the season and the parents were not happy with my brief intrusion, displaying in typical fashion while I made my images and departed. Willie Wagtails almost always nest close to water, very sensible in this hot, dry landscape of ours.
- Dialects of Western Kulin, Western Victoria Yartwatjali, Tjapwurrung, Djadjawurrung, Barry J. Blake, La Trobe University
2011. Click here to read.
- Wesson, S. (2001) Aboriginal flora and fauna names of Victoria: As extracted from early surveyors’ reports. Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages, Melbourne. Click here to read.