Willie Wagtail

Willie WagtailCheerfulness

Willie Wagtail illustrated by Ravenari


Extroversion. Cheerfulness and gregariousness. Anger and irritability. Friendliness. Curiosity. Socialising. Appealing to others. Effectively maintaining your space and home. Territoriality.

General Description:

The willie wagtail is the most well-known of Australian fantails, it is also the largest. It is black and white, and has white eyebrows which the male and female can ‘raise’ when defending their territory. Willie wagtails use their characteristic ‘fantail’ as a sweeping fan over grass to disturb insects, which it then catches and consumes.

Willie wagtails are aggressive, curious and territorial, and a pair will defend its territory and nest site vigorously, often chattering and then chasing humans away from their nest tree. Despite this, willie wagtails are considered friendly and cheerful creatures and the sight of them brightens the heart of many Australians. They are common in urban areas and are tolerant of human activity, even becoming semi-tame. Willie wagtails have a noisy scolding call when disturbed, but otherwise have a sweet, fluting call that is recognisable. They have been known to call endlessly on nights when the moon is bright.

Lessons and Challenges:

The willie wagtail hops into your life to remind you to be cheerful! Much nourishment can come from taking the time to present yourself as cheerful and gregarious to others, even if you’re not particularly feeling either. Willie wagtail also comforts with the knowledge that when you reach out to others with cheerfulness, others will often reach out with the same warmth and a smile.

If you experiment by smiling warmly to children or strangers while shopping or walking, you will be surprised by how many take the time to smile back. Willie wagtail teaches this sort of societal cheerfulness. Even when you are feeling angry, or tired, or downtrodden, it is always possible to smile at a stranger, or to receive one free of charge. As the willie wagtail often brings a smile to the most hardened of hearts, so willie wagtail helps you to share this gift with others.

Willie wagtail teaches us how to appeal to others. This may be physically, through how we present ourselves to others and how we maintain our appearance. It can also be through how we communicate and interact with others. It doesn’t take very much to make a phrase warmer, or a request or question kinder, and willie wagtail reminds us of this.

Chances are, if willie wagtail energy is around, you may not actually be feeling that friendly! The willie wagtail itself is an extraordinarily territorial bird, and for its diminutive size, can irritably swoop and attack others (including people) to get them away. This bird is one of those guides who teaches us how to self-generate positive energy, no matter how much we don’t feel like it, we are reminded that it doesn’t take very much to get us feeling a glimmer of hope or happiness again.

At this time, extroversion may help you and nourish your spirit. Socialising brings you into contact with those who can uplift and enrich the spirit, and can be especially helpful if you are prone to thinking quite negatively on your own. Take the time to see loved ones, whether close friends or even people that you haven’t seen in many years.

Willie wagtail is a guide that teaches us that curiosity is a positive and wonderful trait to possess. It is through curiosity that we find out about the greater world around us, and as a trait, it can help us to locate more nourishing sources of energy, particularly those that make us feel good. It is curiosity about a stranger that can lead us to making a new friend. Curiosity about places can help us to find new sites to visit and new ways to create positive memories for ourselves.

There is an energy of friendliness around you at this time (even if you are feeling quite irritable). It may be that willie wagtail will be bringing more friends into your life, or that your friendships will become more enriching. At the same time, a general attitude of friendliness will be particularly nourishing at this time.

Willie wagtail teaches us that it’s okay to be territorial. In addition, it is time to acknowledge the ways in which you effectively maintain your space and/or home, and look at other ways you can protect yourself and make your living space more appealing and uplifting to you. If your home space can be made into a space that you love and that rewards you with happiness or positive memories, then you will leave that space feeling more well-disposed towards the world around you.

The Shadow Aspects:

Those who fear or dislike willie wagtail may find that they are often threatened by extroversion and cheerfulness. They may see these things as a form of aggression, and may even be intimidated by people who seem overly cheerful or sociable. Willie wagtail challenges you to see the positives in friendliness and politeness, and to not discount people simply because they might seem less ‘real’ or more ‘fake’ for simply taking the time to present you with a happy and cheerful face.

Willie wagtail challenges people to guard their space and their territory effectively. Do you let others walk all over you? Do you leave your home open for all to stay with you, even though you need your own space? Do you never use aggression in your search for time to yourself. Willie wagtail’s scolding energy encourages you to start erecting some boundaries! Maybe if you had more space to yourself, and time to recharge, you might be a happier and friendlier person like the territorial willie wagtail.


Like all animal helpers, this animal will only appear when right and appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit you, commune with you, or share messages with you. Willie wagtail is a positive, cheerful energy and is usually easy to contact in visualisation. In Australia, willie wagtail will often hop into your life literally, flying a few metres (or feet!) away from you in your own garden, or fluting and chattering nearby if you take the time to walk around the suburbs and parks. As they are such intelligent, curious birds, it is not hard to get the sense that they are looking directly at you, wondering as much about you as you are about them!

In visualisation, you can offer willie wagtail gifts of nesting materials, food (like insects) and water. I find for me personally, imagining a jaunty song on the flute is enough to bring this friendly energy into my life. In terms of interacting with willie wagtail as an animal guide, expect a lot of companionable cheerfulness, alongside occasional moments of grumpiness and irritability. Willie wagtail has a great deal of personality, and is an uplifting and nourishing animal guide. Due to the ease of contact it, and its willingness to encounter others, it can be approached as a potential guide. A warning though, it doesn’t do so well as a long-term or consistent guide; and has a flighty energy.