Australian Bush Birds
Magpie-lark  -  Grallina cyanoleuca
Female magpie-lark at Port Fairy, Vic.
male Magpie-lark female Magpie-lark
Left. Male Magpie-lark in full voice, these birds can make a remarkable amount of noise for their size. Right. Female Magpie-lark with white throat.
map map The Magpie-lark - Grallina cyanoleuca - also known as the Mudlark, Peewee or Peewit, is similar to, but smaller than, the magpie. Magpie-larks are widespread in coastal to semi-desert regions, found almost anywhere with water and trees needed for their mud nest and open areas of bare (or grassy) soft ground for foraging. The native range has extended into more open areas where forest has been cleared for farmland and where dams provide permanent water. This very common bird has adapted well to man-made environments.

Magpie-larks are black and white; both sexes have black breast, back, and top of head. The tail is white with a wide black band. Males have a black throat, black patch above the beak and white eyebrow line. Females have a white throat, white patch above the beak and lack the white eyebrow. Immature birds have white throat, white eyebrow and black above the beak. Legs and feet are big and strong reflecting the terrestrial foraging lifestyle.

Magpie-lark - page 2
Members of this species living across the far north of Australia (north-east Queensland to the Kimberley) have shorter tails and a longer bill.

This species can be distinguished from magpies by colour patterns and by size; even juvenile magpies are significantly large than adult magpie-larks. As well, the magpie has a large, triangular bill.