Magpie-lark (species: Grallina cyanoleuca) in Bundjalung NP (Gaia Guide)
Grallina cyanoleuca

©Leo: Male Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca)

©Patricia Midwinter: Female Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca)

©Nick Talbot: Male Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Monarchidae
Genus Grallina
Species Grallina cyanoleuca



Distinguishing features

They are boldly pied in black and white and are a familiar sight around the country: sitting on telephone wires either singly or in pairs, or patrolling any patch of bare ground, especially foreshores of swamps, on their well-developed legs.

The sexes are similar from a distance but easy to tell apart: the female has a white throat, the male a black throat and a white "eyebrow".

Juveniles and immatures of either sex have the white throat of the female and the black eyestripe of the male, and a white belly also accompanies.


  • From 26 cm to 30 cm (Length of specimen)


  • Wingspan data is not yet available.


Interesting facts

  • They are one of the 200-odd species of bird around the world that are known to sing in duet; each partner producing about one note a second, but a half-second apart, so that humans find it difficult to tell that there are actually two birds singing, not one. In the case of the Magpie-lark, the duet singing is now known to be cooperative: pairs sing together to defend their territory.  (Wikipedia)


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

It can adapt to an enormous range of different habitats, requiring only some soft, bare ground for foraging, a supply of mud for making a nest, and a tree to make it in. (Wikipedia)


It is a primarily carnivorous species that eats all sorts of small creatures. (Wikipedia)

Web resources