Jacky Winter

Did you know?

The Jacky Winter often decorates the outside of its nest with bits of bark or lichen, bound with spider web, making it look just like the branch it is built on.

The call is clear and carries far, a rapid 'chwit-chwit-chwit-peter-peter-peter'.
Facts and Figures
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Breeding season: 
August to January
Clutch Size: 
17 days
Nestling Period: 
17 days
Conservation Status
Basic Information
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What does it look like?

The Jacky Winter is a small grey-brown flycatcher with a faint pale eye-line and white underbody. The dark tail has prominent white outer feathers which are obvious when it lands, wagging his tail from side to side. The Jacky Winter typically sits upright on a bare branch or perch, wagging its tail and uttering its 'peter-peter' call. There are three sub-species, with slight geographical variation, darker in the south and paler in the far north and inland. This species is also known as the Brown Flycatcher, Postboy, White-tail or Peter-Peter.

Similar species: 

The Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Microeca flavigaster, is slightly smaller, with a longer tail, lacking the white edge. Female and immaturePetroica robins are similar, but have a distinctive light bar in the wing.

Where does it live?

The Jacky Winter is widely distributed in mainland Australia and in south east New Guinea.


Jacky Winters prefer open woodland with an open shrub layer and a lot of bare ground. They are often seen in farmland and parks.

Seasonal movements: 

Resident and in some places a seasonal visitor.

What does it do?

Jacky Winters dart out from a perch to snatch at flying insects, returning to the same perch again. They dive and twist in the air, hovering and grabbing at insects.


During breeding, the Jacky Winter sings constantly and has high, slow song-flights. The cup-shaped nest is very small and made from grass and strips of bark, bound with spiders web on the fork of a dead branch. The female incubates the eggs and probably broods the young, fed by the male. They may raise several broods in a season. Their nest is always in an exposed position, clear of leaves.

Living with us

Numbers have declined substantially in some areas, particularly in the south, from clearing for farming or housing. Jacky Winters can be quite tame and familiar in some areas.

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