Magpie-larks are found in almost any habitat except rainforests and the driest deserts and are familiar urban birds. Share on Facebook. The theory is that they are actually attacking their reflections in your eyes.

The female is similar, but the mantle may be grey, and the black parts of the plumage are less iridescent; both sexes have a blue-grey bill with a dark tip, and red eyes. Our Magpie Lark chick is eating voraciously and is still very tame and confident. The female is similar, but the mantle is grey, and the black parts of the plumage are less iridescent. The bowl is lined with feathers and grasses. They have declined in some areas, e.g. During the breeding season both the male and female gather wet mud and construct a bowl-shaped nest on a horizontal branch, or similar site, often up to 20 m above the ground. ; Peter, J.M.

Heather, B.D. The Magpie-lark is distinctively marked in black and white. The juvenile is mottled grey on the under-surface. Its name Magpie-lark is also confusing because it is neither a Magpie nor a Lark. Names recorded include byoolkolyedi (Perth and lowlands), dilabot (mountains and interior), and koolyibarak. You may have had the briefest glimpse or heard a snatch of its song, or perhaps it was a bird you have never seen before.

Other groups consist of a varying number of adult birds, some of which may be previous offspring which have been allowed to remain. Davies - @BirdlifeOz thrived under Stephen’s calm and wise guidance. Conservation status: Introduced and Naturalised, Other names: magpie, white-backed magpie, black-backed magpie, makipae. Explore our vital programs, which focus conservation efforts on what needs to be done so that Australia's birds and their habitats flourish. Higgins, P.J. 2013 [updated 2017]. The magpie is found throughout the North Island. It is also called a Peewee, Peewit, Mudlark or Little Magpie. The female is similar, but the … [14] The magpie-lark is a familiar sight around Australia; sitting on telephone wires either singly or in pairs, or patrolling patches of bare ground, especially foreshores or swamps. BirdLife Australia has a long and proud history of excellence in publishing.

Likewise a study by several regional councils and Landcare Research found little evidence that magpies affected the populations of other species of birds. It is made of grass and plant material thickly plastered together with mud, and generously lined with grass, feathers and fur. Its familiar call, sometimes rendered as peewee or peewit, has led to those renditions being used as colloquial names for the species, though in South Australia it is known as the ‘Murray Magpie’.

It is more closely related to Monarchs, Fantails and Drongos.
Some authorities group the Australian magpie with butcherbirds in the genus Cracticus. The black-and-white Australian magpie is a common and conspicuous inhabitant of open country throughout much of New Zealand. Young birds have a black forehead, a white eyebrow and a white throat.

Viking, Auckland. If you want the pho… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…, Wild penguin welfare study! New Zealand groups seem to consist mainly of single pairs, or pairs with young from the previous season. Some years ago there was a tame pair of Magpie-larks frequenting the shopping centre mall at Noosa Heads in Qld and there were instances of them attacking people in the face, or the eyes. White Library is the most comprehensive ornithological library in Australia, containing thousands of books, journals, and media about birds and related topics. A male magpie-lark showing dorsal feather colouring. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Although the Australian Magpie is generally quite tame, almost pet like, during the breeding season some are so aggressive they will attack anything that moves near their nests. We are also the meeting ground for everyone with an interest in birds from the curious backyard observer to the dedicated research scientist. A primarily carnivorous species that eats all sorts of small creatures, the magpie-lark can adapt to an enormous range of different habitats, requiring only some soft, bare ground for foraging, a supply of mud for making a nest, and a tree to make it in. ; Robertson, H. A.

Crossland, A.C. 2008. It is usually located in the crown or side-branches of tall trees, especially pines, macrocarpas and gums. Visit BirdLife Australia’s stunning conservation reserves and sanctuaries overflowing with native birdlife and other incredible flora and fauna. The H.L. They rely on their parents for a further 2 months or so afterwards. Today he flew from the table to the chair back and then … John Latham described the species in 1801. While both species are black and white, the Magpie-lark is noticeably smaller than the Australian Magpie. Various objects may be used as playthings. However, this usually only lasts until shortly after the chicks fledge. While both species are black and white, the Magpie-lark is noticeably smaller than the Australian Magpie. Geographical variation: Eight subspecies recognised in Australia, of which perhaps three were introduced to, and persist in, New Zealand. Also, as anyone who has kept a pet magpie will attest, they can be playful, especially when young. Only once since we have been here have we had a major problem...with a bird who built a nest in the tree above our front gate...locking and unlocking the gate each day just became too much of a challenge. However, there can be a bluish sheen to the black back. Australian magpie. Both sexes have a blue-grey bill with a dark tip, and red eyes. Breeding is opportunistic, usually from August to February in the fertile south, anytime after rain in drier areas, and multiple broods are common when conditions allow. We always need more citizen scientists. The vast majority of predation events involved mammalian predators or harriers. Both the Magpie and Magpie Lark may seen slowly searching on the ground for a variety of insects and their larvae, as well as earthworms and freshwater invertebrates.

Australian magpies mainly feed on invertebrates, taken mostly from the ground. Your email address will not be published. [2][3] Its species name is derived from the Ancient Greek words cyanos "dark blue" and leukos "white" despite the black and white plumage. Duet singing remains fairly poorly understood as a great deal of the existing research on birdsong has been carried out in the northern Hemisphere, where a fairly small number of female birds sing. Just a theory, but certainly possible. Magpie-larks build an unusual mud nest. Latham gave the species the common names of blue and white crow and pied grackle, based on the scientific names. 1996. Magpie-larks are one of the 200-odd species of bird around the world that are known to sing in duet; each partner producing about one note a second, but a half-second apart, so that humans find it difficult to tell that there are actually two birds singing, not one. One was seen to pursue, capture and kill a juvenile goldfinch, and another took 3 newly-hatched banded dotterel chicks from a nest. It was introduced from Australia and Tasmania by Acclimatisation Societies between 1864 and 1874, mainly to control insect pests. Native trees such as tawa and beech are also frequently used. A pair of neighbours calling from the 'wrong' place, however, (as when calls are recorded and played back by an experimenter) bring forth a powerful reaction: clearly, they know exactly who their neighbours are.[21].

[3][5] John Gould likewise called it the pied grallina in 1848, though he noted that it was called magpie-lark by the early settlers. Recently I witnessed a male bird at Mt Ive in S.A. that spent much of his day attacking his reflection in a chromiun plated section of machinery, until I turned it round so he couldn’t see it. Birds generally pair for life (though divorce is not unknown) and defend a territory together.

Adult male. The white-backed forms predominate except in Hawke’s Bay and North Canterbury, where black-backed birds make up around 95% of the population. Magpie-larks aggressively defend their nest and territory, which may occupy up to 10 ha. Young birds have a black forehead, a white eyebrow and a white throat.


The magpie-lark is aggressively territorial, and will fearlessly defend its territory against larger species such as magpies, ravens, kookaburras, and even the wedge-tailed eagle.

The Magpie-lark is mostly ground-dwelling, and is usually seen slowly searching on the ground for a variety of insects and their larvae, as well as earthworms and freshwater invertebrates. The thin whitish bill and pale iris separate it from other similarly coloured species.