The willy (or willie) wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) is a passerine bird native to Australia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Bismarck Archipelago, and Eastern Indonesia. It is a common and familiar bird throughout much of its range, living in most habitats apart from thick forest.
An adult willie wagtail is between 19 and 21.5 cm (7.5 and 8.5 in) in length, with a tail 10–11 cm (approx 4 in) long. The short, slender bill measures 1.64–1.93 cm (around 0.75 in), and is tipped with a small hook. This species has longer legs than other fantails, which may be an adaptation to foraging on the ground. The male and female have similar plumage; the head, throat, upper breast, wings, upperparts, and tail are all black, with a white eyebrow, "whiskers" and underparts. The bill and legs are black and the iris dark brown. Immature birds in their first year after moulting from juvenile plumage may have pale tips in their wings, while juvenile birds themselves have duller plumage, their upperparts brown-tinged with some pale brown scallops on the head and breast.
Three subspecies are recognised; Rhipidura leucophrys leucophrys from central and southern Australia, the smaller R. l. picata from northern Australia, and the larger R. l. melaleuca from New Guinea and islands in its vicinity. It is unrelated to the true wagtails of the genus Motacilla; it is a member of the fantail genus Rhipidura and is a part of a "core corvine" group that includes true crows and ravens, drongos and birds of paradise. Within this group, fantails are placed either in the family Dicruridae, alongside drongos, or in their own small family, Rhipiduridae.