General Description

Body black and white. Males have a black throat and white eyebrow, females have a white throat and no eyebrow. Bill thin and white. Bill to tail length up to 30 cm. Call a distinctive 'pee wee' or "pee-o-wit" from which one of their common names, Peewee, comes. They look similar to Australian Magpies, Cracticus tibicen, but are much smaller.


Magpie-larks often call in pairs, raising and lowering their wings in unison with the song. They establish territories up to 10 hectares in size. These territories are aggressively defended, with Magpie-larks attacking much larger birds including Wedge-tailed Eagles, Aquila audax. Both the male and female help to construct the bowl-shaped nest, which is made of wet mud built onto a horizontal branch. They line the nest with grasses, hair and feathers. Usual clutch size is three to five eggs and they can produce multiple clutches if conditions are favourable. Magpie-larks forage on the ground, walking slowly in search of food. The feed on invertebrates including insects, insect larvae and earthworms. Magpie-larks can form large nomadic flocks, migrating south in the summer and north in the winter. They often call in pairs, raising their wings in unison with the song.


Southern New Guinea and Timor. Mainland Australia except Gibson and Great Victoria Deserts.


Most habitats, including urban areas, except dense forests and very arid deserts.

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