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Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie standing on grassy ground

Scientific Name: Gymnorhina tibicen

Size: 36-44 cm

What does it look like?

This large black and white bird is common and familiar. Its conspicuous plumage varies throughout the species range. The nape, upper tail and shoulders are white in all forms and in most cases the remainder of the body is black. Birds from Tasmania, the south-east, centre and extreme south-west of mainland Australia have an entirely white back. In addition to this, the white of the upperparts are more grey in the female birds. An uncommon alternative name for the Australian Magpie is Flute Bird, which was given due to its loud musical flute-like song.

Where is it found?

The Australian Magpie is found throughout most of Australia and some parts of Papua New Guinea.

What are its habitats & habits?

It prefers open grassy areas, with scattered trees, where it walks along the ground searching for the insects and their larvae that constitute the bulk of its diet.

Interesting facts

In South Australia the Australian Magpie is also known as the Piping Shrike, and is the state’s unofficial bird emblem.

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Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book¬†Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

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