What’s Lurking In Your Backyard? – #30 Magpie-lark

This series looks at the variety of fauna that may be found in the suburban backyard or local reserve and the diversity may be surprising to some people. The obvious fauna are the vast array of birds that are readily seen by day and some by night, but there are numerous species that are nocturnal. Some of these nocturnal species people are familiar with as they tramp across the roof at night with what sounds like hobnail boots on, or they hear fighting in the backyard over food and territory. Others are cryptic and may only be seen infrequently when they enter the house for warmth and shelter. Each week I will highlight a different species that may be found in and around Melbourne’s backyards, parks and reserves, some may be familiar others less so.

#30 Magpie-lark
(Grallina cyanoleuca)

Although the Magpie-lark is similarly coloured to the Australian Magpie it is in fact neither a magpie nor a lark and is considerably smaller than the Australian Magpie. Both species are black and white but that is where the similarities end. The Magpie-lark is often referred to as a Mudlark due to its nesting habits or Pee Wee, due to its distinctive call.

The Magpie-lark is a thin whitish bird with black features. The male of the species has a white eyebrow and black face whilst the female lacks the white eyebrow and has a white face.

The Magpie-lark is a familiar bird of urban areas and can be found throughout Australia in a wide range of habitats with the exception of drier regions and rainforest. Magpie-larks can often be found in and around suburban parks seeking out their favorite foods stuffs. Being mostly a ground dwelling bird they be found searching for their food which consists mainly of insects and their larvae as well as earthworms and other freshwater invertebrates. Magpie-larks may also be found in large flocks particularly in agricultural areas were food is abundant.

The nest of the Magpie-lark consists of mud, which both the male and the female build. This bowl-shaped nest is usually placed in a horizontal branch some distance above the ground. Once the mud nest is completed it is lined with feathers and grass. They both incubate and care for the young and like the Australian Magpie will defend their territory and nesting sites. Seasonal conditions may lead to them raising more than one brood in a year. 

© Habitat Ecology 2013

Magpie-lark

This entry was posted in Information. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

Habitat Ecology News

  • Rail vs Road

    A recent article in The Age newspaper has costed the Doncaster rail line at around 840 million dollars (Doncaster railway could be built for $840M, The Age July 24 2012) “Doncaster Link” . The development of this line has been proposed, talked about, costed, put on the table, been an election issue and removed sinceRead the Rest...

  • The Carbon Tax – My Take On It

    It is very interesting that the Carbon Tax is creating so much debate at present. Is this because it is a new tax, that people don’t believe in climate change or is it that Julia Gillard said we wouldn’t have a Carbon Tax? (On the last issue isn’t funny how short our memories are becauseRead the Rest...

  • NSW Recreation Shooters To Gain Access To National Parks!

    The NSW Government is attempting to pass legislation that will enable recreational shooters access to National Parks for the supposed purpose of controlling feral animals. In exchange they will vote for the privatisation of the NSW Power Stations. (Which will only drive household bills up) Isn’t this a conflict of interest and what of theRead the Rest...

Our Accreditations

Sustainable Business Leader Eclips and SGA Eclips and SGA

« Back to Information