Capricorn Coast Birds
Magpie Lark
Grallina cyanoleuca
Average size 28cm
Known as the Mudlark in Victoria and Western Australia, the Murray Magpie in South Australia, and as the Peewee in New South Wales and Queensland. These are a common and very widespread bird in urban and rural areas, occupying all parts of Australia except for Tasmania and some of the inland desert, they are also found in southern New Guinea.
They are mostly ground-dwelling and are usually seen slowly searching on the ground for a variety of insects and their larvae, as well as earthworms and freshwater invertebrates.
The sexes are similar except that the male has a white eyebrow and black face while the female has an all-white face, they generally pair for life and defend a territory together. The nest is a round cup made of grass and plant material thickly plastered together with mud and generously lined with grass, feathers and fur. Both parents incubate a clutch of between three and five eggs, multiple broods are common when conditions allow.
Group gatherings of magpie larks are sometimes seen, with loose "flocks" comprising dozens of individuals being observed, this behaviour may be pairing or breeding related or simply indicate a bountiful feeding area.