Grallina cyanoleuca


Magpie-larks are bold and confiding, and forage for insects and other food items in open grassy areas. They are common and very much at home in the suburbs and city. Usually seen in pairs, they are strongly territorial, and sometimes attacking their own reflections in car mirrors, hub caps and house windows. When nesting, they may attack people. Adult pairs call in a duet and perform ritualised wing-raising.

Males have a horizontal bar of black through their eyes, while females have a vertical stripe through the eyes, and have a white throat. Immatures are somewhat in between.

Magpie-larks are seen regularly through the year, although in spring some birds move away from gardens to breed. In autumn they sometimes congregate in large flocks.  Overall numbers, as well as breeding records, increased during the survey until about five years ago when numbers started to rapidly drop to the levels of the first 10 years and are still falling. It is still the fifth most recorded bird. Recorded breeding 405 times, Magpie-larks are the fourth most common breeding bird. Nesting mostly begins in September and is usually finished by the end of December. Dependent young are seen from late November to late March. The full breeding cycle can take up to 17 weeks, but some pairs may raise two broods in the one summer. R=5. BR=4.