Australian magpie

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Australian magpie
G. tibicen hypoleuca, Tasmania
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Artamidae
Genus: Gymnorhina
Gray, GR, 1840
G. tibicen
Binomial name
Gymnorhina tibicen
(Latham, 1801)
Australian magpie ranges of subspecies

Cracticus tibicen

The Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) is a large black-and-white bird. It lives in most parts of Australia and in a small part of New Guinea. It is not closely related to the European magpie: they just look rather similar.

Australian magpies are related to butcherbirds and currawongs. They are in the family Artamidae.[2]

The Australian magpie is in its own genus Gymnorhina and is related to the black butcherbird (Melloria quoyi). They live in bush land and in cities near people.

Description[change | change source]

Australian magpies are from 37 to 43 cm long. They do not have very long tails like European magpies. An adult magpie has red eyes, black legs, and a white beak with black tip.

There are nine kinds of magpies (subspecies or races) in different parts of the country. Some subspecies have black backs and some have white.

Behaviour[change | change source]

They walk on the ground where they look for insects and lizards to eat. Many other birds hop (move with small jumps), but magpies walk. When they are not looking for food, they stand or perch by holding on with their feet while they stand or crouch in trees or on man-made structures.

When magpies have baby chicks in their nests, the adults will “swoop” at nearby people – flying at their heads – to chase them away.

Some people feed magpies by throwing small pieces of meat to them. Magpies can learn to come near humans for food. They do not usually let people touch them.

References[change | change source]

  1. BirdLife International (2012). "Gymnorhina tibicen". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. Christidis L. & Boles W.E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. Canberra: CSIRO Publishing. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-643-06511-6