A distinctively black and white bird, the Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) is often known as the Peewee, after the sound of its distinctive calls. A conspicuous small to medium size bird, they are a common and widespread, found in urban, rural areas and arid desert regions, that extends through Central Australia to the far north-west of Western Australia.

The Magpie-lark is identified from similar coloured species by the thin whitish-cream bill and pale iris. The adult male Magpie-lark has a white eyebrow and black face, whilst the female has an all-white face with no white eyebrow. Young birds have a black forehead, a white eyebrow and a white throat.

The Magpie-lark can often be seen in gardens and parks, especially around water sources such as bird baths and fountains.

The Magpie-lark build a bowl-shaped nest constructed from mud and rootlets, on a horizontal branch above the ground. The nest is lined with feathers and grasses. They are known to aggressively defend their nest and territory.

They forage for a variety of insects, larvae, worms and freshwater invertebrates.

Common name
Magpie-lark, Peewee or Pee Wee (a colloquial name after its bird call), known in Victoria and Western Australia as the Mudlark, known in South Australia as the Murray Magpie, Little Magpie, Pugwall. Indigenous people also have their own names for this bird species including Teye-teye (Arrernte name), Birrarik or Birrerik (Indigenous name from the Sydney region), among many others.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Monarchidae
  • Genus: Grallina
  • Species: G. cyanoleuca
  • Binomial name: Grallina cyanoleuca

Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala)
Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) & Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala)

Footnote & References

  1. Magpie-lark, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magpie-lark (last visited Sept. 3, 2021).
  2. Magpie-lark, BirdLife Australia, https://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/magpie-lark