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« Back Birds (Australia & NZ)

Lark, Magpie (Grallina cyanoleuca)
Photo by John E Bolte, Australia

Lark, Magpie (Grallina cyanoleuca)

This Picture Has been Viewed 1679 times since 05 August 2004

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Distinctly marked in black and white, the name Magpie-lark is quite misleading, as the species has no link with either the magpies or the larks.The 'pee-o-wit' or 'pee-wee' call is frequently given as a duet, each bird raising its wings in turn, and has given rise to the colloquial name of Peewee. It is found all over Australia and has an extensive habitat, absent only from the rainforest and the hottest parts of the desert. They are urban birds and live on a diet of insects and their larvae, as well as earthworms and freshwater invertebrates. Juvenile birds form normadic flocks often thousands strong that move around with the seasons.
They build an unusual mud nest and may produce 2 broods in a year.
The Magpie-lark's mud nest has previously led to the species being closely linked with the mud-nest building members of the family Corcoracidae the White-winged Chough, (Corcorax melanorhamphos), and the Apostlebird, (Struthidea cinerea.) They are in fact placed in the family Dicruridae, which includes Monarchs, Fantails, and Drongos.

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