There are 3 types:
- Black Back
- White Back
- Western (which normally have mottled backs)
Western are found in the Southern regions of the state of West Australia
Black back and white back are found in the rest of Australia,
the White Back to the North, the Black Back to the South.
Interbreeding has made location lines very indistinct, with the Australian
Magpie being one of Australias most common birds
This is because it needs open ground to feed, some trees to roost in, and
this describes a lot of Australias agriculture regions and urban landscapes
For a picture and description of a White Backed Magpie CLICK Here or on "White Backed" on map
For a picture and description of a Black Backed Magpie CLICK Here or on "Black Backed" on map
For a picture and description of a Western Magpie CLICK Here or on "Western" on map
Click on words on Map to
see Pic + Description
Australian Magpie Males and Females are similar, with glossy black and
The bold white patch on the nape is common to all types of Australian Magpies.
Average length of a mature Magpie is 38 to44 cm
Australian Magpies have strong hooked beaks
Young Magpies are duller and their feathers are more "downy"
Magpies have a beutiful "Warbling Carol" (carolling) which is heard across
Australia every day in the bush, on farms and in Urban backyards
They call for partners, and also to warn other birds this is their territory
The notes become shorter when distressed, and a young magpies "begging for
food" call is most insistent.
Found right across Australia (see earlier map)
They require open ground to feed, some trees to roost in, and
this describes a lot of Australias agriculture and bush landscapes
Australian Magpies have adapted well to the increase of mans Urban cities
and they can be found in surban parks and gardens
The Australian Magpie feeds mainly on worms, ground-dwelling
insects such as insects and spiders, ground dwelling invertebrates.
Magpies can be seen pecking and probing into any likly creavice
Magpies live in groups with a strict heirarchy setup of a dominate male
2 to 3 females and any number of young up to about 20 individuals.
Magpies occupy permanent territories used for feeding, roosting and nesting.
Depending on the area (ie amount of grazing area, trees etc) the size of
their territory varies from roughly 10 to 20 hectares.
During breeding season Magpies (especially males) feircly defend their
nest and territories by basically dive bombing any percieved threat
whether in the air on the ground including humans, sometimes resulting
in a jab to the back of the head, or at the very least a huge fright.
They prefer to wait untill the quarry is not looking, so often the
first you know of it is when wings are beating beside your ears.
Breeding occurs from July to Feburary (depending on local climate).
The female makes the nest on her own consisting of a rough basket of
sticks in a tree. They often line it with softer material and
being the opportunist bird it is in sheep grazing areas they use wool caught
on bushes etc
The female lays 3 to 5 eggs (blue or green blotched & streaked with
brown), which hatch in 20 days
Females incubate and rear their young unaided to thefledging stage
(24 days approax) During this time the nest is defended by the Male, and
if the threat is percieved to be very
serious the female will leave the nest to help deter the "threat"
Once the young have left the nest all members of the group help in educating,
protecting, and carring for them. Fathers show the young how to forage for food
RELATIVES & OVERSEAS MAGPIES
Australian magpies are related to Butcherbirds and Currawongs
Their only relation to the Euorpean magpie is their black and white markings,
as the Euorpean magpie is a row whilst the Australian Magpie is not