Cracticus tibicen

Description

The Australian Magpie is black and white, but the plumage pattern varies across its range. Its nape, upper tail and shoulder are white in males, grey in females. Across most of Australia, the remainder of the body is black. In the south-east, centre, extreme south-west and Tasmania, the back and rump are entirely white. The eye of adult birds is chestnut brown.

Distribution

The Australian Magpie is found throughout Australia.

Lifespan

The Australian Magpie generally lives to around 25 years of age.

Size

The size of the Australian Magpie is 36 - 44 centimetres in length (from head to tail), with an average wingspan of 76 centimetres.

Diet

The Australian Magpie's diet consists of small insects and animals that live on, or just under, the surface of the ground, including grasshoppers, scarab beetles, insect larvae, frogs and small lizards.

Habitat

Australian Magpies are found wherever there is a combination of trees and adjacent open areas, including parks and playing fields. They are absent only from the densest forests and arid deserts.

Breeding

Australian Magpies breed in their own territory, which they defend against other magpies. Nesting takes place between August and October. The female will lay 1 - 6 eggs and will solely incubate them for approximately 21 days. Once hatched, the young are fed in the nest for about four weeks.