Fun Magpie-lark Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Magpie-lark Facts For Kids

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Magpie-larks are Northern Territory's native and protected species. It is a type of bird that can be found in a wide range of ecosystems from grasslands to bushes. They are smaller than the magpies. They are black and white in color. The male magpie-lark bird sings duets with female lark magpie and the call sounds like peewee. This species pairs for life. The genders of the bird are easier to tell apart from up close than at a distance. The most common difference is that females have a white throat and males have black throats and black eye stripes. A female juvenile has a white throat, while a male juvenile has a black eye stripe. Whereas they both have a white belly. The magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) pairs for life and builds a bowl-shaped mud nest lined with hair, grass, and feathers. Its calls are very harmonious.

If you enjoy reading about the magpie-lark, do check out interesting facts about the lark sparrow and horned lark.


Fun Magpie-lark Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Worms, insects, caterpillars, invertebrates, spiders, lizards, moths

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-5 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.1-0.3 lb (64-118 g)

How long are they?

9.8-11.8 in (25-30 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Black and white

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Habitat Loss, Climate Change, Pollution, Pesticides

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Mainlands And Islands


Australia, Tasmania, Southern New Guinea, Timor









Magpie-Lark Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a magpie-lark?

The magpie-larks are a type of bird. They are small in size and have a very soothing voice.  Earlier it was classified in a subfamily of fantails, the family Dicruridae (Drongoes), they are now in the family Monarchidae (monarch flycatchers).

What class of animal does a magpie-lark belong to?

The magpie-lark is a bird that belongs to the class of Aves.

How many magpie-larks are there in the world?

The accurate number of Magpie-larks is unknown.

Where does a magpie-lark live?

The magpie-lark is commonly found in the urban and rural areas of Australia and southern New Guinea. Except for Tasmania, it is a widespread bird occupying all the areas of Australia's mainland and the inland desert of western Australia. These birds are also well adapted to human presence. They are also found on the island of Timor.

What is a magpie-lark's habitat?

The magpie-lark lives in habitats like dry forests, savannah, grassland, farmlands, and bushes. They make nests in vegetations that are close to water bodies and wet mud. They can also be found in a range of different habitats except for rainforests and dry deserts.

Who do magpie-larks live with?

The Australian magpie has cooperative behavior and likes to stick together with its family and mates.  A pair of birds is generally a lifelong partnership that defends a territory together. The magpie-lark builds a strange mud nest, and it generally breeds from August through December. Occasionally, only a few chicks survive due to the size of the nest being too small which can cause some chicks to fall out. The young are forced by their parents to leave the group after two years, for establishing their own territory.

How long does a magpie-lark live?

The Australian magpie-lark life expectancy is about 25 years old, although records show others may live up to 30 years. Road hazards, natural predators, and a lack of sufficient food contribute to the death of many of the young ones.

How do they reproduce?

An Australian magpie-lark's nest is formed out of bowl-shaped nests constructed on horizontal branches or similar sites, which are often located between 65.6-98.4 ft (20-30 m) above ground level during the breeding season. Feathers and grasses line the nest. Normally, magpie-larks remain in the same area together for their entire lives, marking each breeding season with rituals, defending their territory together, and staying close to each other when food is plentiful. The magpie-lark females will abandon their nest if a male leaves them after mating. It is the female, as well as the male, who builds nests, incubates eggs, and feeds the young. In the spring, females lay three to five oval-shaped white-to-pink eggs. The breeding season begins earlier for the magpie-lark 'couples,' allowing them to have more than one brood. Juveniles leave the nest three weeks after hatching by mid-May. The incubation period usually lasts 18 days.

What is their conservation status?

The population status of the magpie-lark is in the Least Concern according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Currently, the exact number is not determined but they seemed to be increasing today.

Magpie-Lark Fun Facts

What do magpie-larks look like?

When compared up close, male and female magpie-larks look alike from a distance, but when seen closely, they cannot be confused. Australian magpie-larks have a black and white body. Females have a completely white face and males have an all-black body with a white stripe above the eye. White markings appear on the wings of both species, which are predominantly black. The legs of adult magpies are exceptionally long, and their eyes and beaks are white. Females are usually smaller than males. Young birds have a blackhead, white eyebrows, and a white throat. Juveniles also exhibit dark eyes and white bills, whereas adults do not. Females are usually smaller than males.

The Magpie-Lark

How cute are they?

The magpie-lark birds are cute because of their black and white body color and small body build. They may become a bit aggressive during the breeding season.

How do they communicate?

The male magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) responds to his partner's song, forming a duet to repel males attracted to her singing. To establish and maintain pair bonds and territories, both male and female combine their songs to produce a duet. Magpie-larks sound calls to remain in contact with their partner when at a faraway place.

How big is a magpie-lark?

The adult species is 10-12 in (25-30 cm) in length. It is much smaller than an Australian magpie, with a smaller pale bill.

How fast can a magpie-lark fly?

This species can fly at the top speed of 23 mph (37 kmph).

How much does a magpie-lark weigh?

The bird weighs 0.1-0.3 lb (64-118 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names for the two genders of this species. They are often known as peewee, peewit, or mudlark. In South Australia, it is known as 'Murray Magpie'. Either way, they are referred to as the male magpie-lark and the female magpie-lark.

What would you call a baby magpie-lark?

A baby pee wee is called a chick. A fledgling is a baby bird that has left the mud nest and begun to discover its surroundings. These birds are born without sight and feathers. The chicks develop a layer of down feathers in their first week after birth. The eyes of the baby birds open around day 10.

What do they eat?

The magpie-lark diet includes worms, insects, caterpillars, freshwater invertebrates, spiders, lizards, and moths. Natural predators of magpies include various species of monitor lizards and the burrowing owl.

Are they friendly?

The peewee must be considered the friendliest bird in Australia. It can develop a lifelong friendship with humans as most breeding birds live near human houses and never get swooped. They are friendly and sociable as they frequent the gardens, houses, and often request food.

Did you know...

Magpie-larks are one of the 200 old species of birds that sing in duet. They can also sing and dance at the same time.

The name of the bird 'magpie-lark' is quite amusing as it is neither related to a magpie nor a lark but belongs to the family of Monarchs flycatchers.

Do magpie-larks mate for life?

Yes, peewee pairs for life. Territories are very important to them and they will vigorously defend them. As a means of defense, the male magpie-larks will only chase other male magpie-larks, while the females will only chase other female magpie-larks. Magpie-larks nest in areas where magpie clans reside, and eagles and hawks have been driven away by the aggressiveness of the magpies.

Duet singing

These birds are known to sing in duets. It has a mellow, liquid, yet clear voice. The magpie-lark call sounds like 'peewee, peewee' or 'peewit'. As a territorial display, the male and female stand together and sing a duet in their favorite spot. They are known to signal a threat to other birds when they are synchronized and harmonious. The magpie-lark song calls are very soothing to listen to. One sings  'peewee' and the other partner responds with 'wit', making it a complete song. While the male duet is performed it is hard to tell if there are two birds singing.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our magpie facts and western meadowlark fun facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable magpie-lark coloring pages.

Written By
Kidadl Team

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