The Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) is a medium-sized black and white passerine bird that is native to Australia and southern New Guinea. Said to be one of Australia’s most accomplished songbirds, with an array of complex vocalisations.

Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) © Dorothy Latimer
Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) © Dorothy Latimer

The Australian Magpie is omnivorous, with the bulk of its diet made up of invertebrates.

It is generally sedentary and territorial throughout its range.

Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) © Dorothy Latimer
Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) © Dorothy Latimer

A robust bird, the adult Australian Magpie has distinctive black and white plumage, gold brown eyes and a solid wedge-shaped bluish-white and black bill. There are now nine recognised subspecies.

The male and female Australian Magpies are similar in appearance, that can be distinguished by the differences in back markings. The male bird has white feathers on the back of the head, whilst the female has white blending to grey feathers on the back of the head.

Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) © Dorothy Latimer
Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) © Dorothy Latimer

Check our images in Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary > Fauna > Australian Magpie


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Artamidae
  • Genus: Gymnorhina
  • Species: Gymnorhina tibicen
  • Subspecies:
    • Gymnorhina tibicen ssp. dorsalis (Western Magpie)
    • Gymnorhina tibicen ssp. eylandtensis (Northern Black-backed Magpie)
    • Gymnorhina tibicen ssp. hypoleuca (Tasmanian Magpie)
    • Gymnorhina tibicen ssp. longirostris (Pilbara Black-backed Magpie)
    • Gymnorhina tibicen ssp. papuana (Papuan Magpie)
    • Gymnorhina tibicen ssp. telonocua (South Australian White-backed Magpie)
    • Gymnorhina tibicen ssp. terraereginae (Northeastern Black-backed Magpie)
    • Gymnorhina tibicen ssp. tibicen (Southeastern Black-backed Magpie)
    • Gymnorhina tibicen ssp. tyrannica (Eastern White-backed Magpie)
Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) © Dorothy Latimer
Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) © Dorothy Latimer

Footnote & References

  1. Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen), iNaturalistAU, https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/taxa/8575-Gymnorhina-tibicen
  2. Australian Magpie, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_magpie (last visited Sept. 25, 2022)

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