The Australian Magpie is a medium-sized, passerine bird that is native to Australia and Southern New Guinea. These birds are one of the most common Australian birds and are also described as one of the most proficient song birds. They usually have an array of multifaceted vocalizations.
Australian Magpie Scientific Name
Magpies are scientifically known as Gymnorhina Tibicin.
Australian Magpie Sub-Species
There are currently nine sub-species of Australian magpie. The original form is called Black Backed Magpie.
- G. tibicen tibicen
- G. tibicen terraereginae
- G. tibicen eylandtensis,
- G. tibicen longirostris
- G. tibicen tyrannica,
- G. tibicen telonocua,
- G. tibicen hypoleuca
- The Western Magpie, G. tibicen dorsalis
- The New Guinean Magpie, G. tibicen papuana
Picture 1 – Australian Magpie
Australian Magpie Description
The Australian magpie looks different from the other Australian birds because of their special features.
Size: The bird ranges from 37 to 43 cm in length.
Weight: Magpie weighs about 220-350g.
Color: They are noticeable for their black and white coloration. Presence of bold white patch on their nape is common to all types of magpies.
Feathers: The bird is covered by black and white plumage.
Bill: Magpie has wedge shaped bluish white and black bill.
Legs: Legs are quite long and they walk faster than waddles or hop.
Wings: Magpie wings are normal as that of the other birds having two main divisions. The main flight feathers are attached to the manus and the secondary ones are attached to the ulna. They have 10 primary feathers and 11 secondary feathers.
Australian Magpie Distribution
The Australian magpie is found in the Trans-fly region of New Guinea. Magpies are widely seen in Australia, Tasmania, and Gibson. Magpies were introduced in New Zealand in the 1860’s. These birds are sedentary and territorial throughout its range. Their range and population has increased a lot and will increase in the future.
Australian Magpie Habitat
Magpies prefer open areas such as grasslands, fields, as well as residential areas like parks, gardens, golf courses, and streets. They nest and shelter in trees but are largely seen on the grounds.
Australian Magpie Migration
Most of the time, these birds are seen walking from one place to another in search of food. They are also seen in the trees but not very frequently. They prefer walking rather than flying.
Australian Magpie Behavior
Australian Magpies are quite interesting to watch.
- Australian magpies live in their territories in family units of up to 10 members.
- These birds are diurnal.
- Magpies move around by walking.
- They run in short bursts when hunting prey.
- Sometimes a group use caroling as a signal to advertise ownership and warn off the other magpies.
- One or two magpies parade along the border while the rest in the group stands back.
- They use their bills to search for foods and also upend the debris in search of food.
Australian Magpie Diet
The Australian magpie is omnivorous. They prefer food items that are found at or near ground level like earthworms, millipedes, snails, spiders and scorpions. They also prefer insects like cockroaches, caterpillars, ants, beetles, etc. Being a ground feeder, magpies paces open areas methodically searching for foods.
Australian Magpie Flight
They fluff their black and white feathers while flying from one place to another. They fly within several meters and settle on nearby locations.
Picture 3 – Australian Magpie Flying
Australian Magpie Call
Crouching low and uttering quite begging calls are their common signs. They have a beautiful warbling carol which is heard across Australia every day.
Australian Magpie Predators
Natural predators of magpie include several species of monitor lizard and the barking owl. These birds are often killed on roads or sometimes getting electrocuted by power lines. Some also die because of being poisoned after eating mice, rats with baiting.
Australian Magpie Adaptations
They are very adaptive in nature.
- Their long and muscular legs make them capable of walking fast from one spot to another. Their legs are designed for walking.
- Their tale is made out of 21 feathers, specially designed to increase their flying speed.
- Magpies protect their children from different animals by swooping attack.
- When it comes to bird, it attempts to damage their wings by stinging their feathers.
Australian Magpie Mating Season
Their mating season starts from the month of June and continues till September.
Australian Magpie Breeding
They actually have a long breeding period. The female make nests of their own, which is comprised of a rough basket of sticks in a tree. The female lays 3 to 5 eggs which hatch in within 20 days. Females hatch and rear their unaided nascent born ones to the fledging phase. At this time, male ones take care of the nests. Magpies are known for cooperative breeding. This actually varies from one region to another.
Australian Magpie Life Cycle
Within three weeks the juvenile magpies start moving on their own. They leave the nest after three weeks and starts feeding themselves on their own. Some magpies continue begging for food till eight or nine months.
The age at which these birds disperse varies from one country to another. Males are more dispossessed than the females. Many even leave at around a year old.
Australian Magpie Conservation Status
They are listed in the least concern category by the IUCN. These birds are not threatened, thus are not conservation dependent.
Australian Magpie Interesting Facts
These birds are quite entertaining and interesting in nature.
- They are not at all aggressive in nature
- Their voice is something really interesting to listen to.
- They use a very high pitch noise to warn the intruders.
- Magpies are less likely to swoop if you have a look at them.
Australian Magpie Pictures
Here are some images of Australian magpie
Picture 4 – Australian Magpie Nest
Picture 5 – Australian Magpie Image