Monday, 6 February 2012

Magpie lark

Grallina cyanoleuca

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Common name:
magpie lark (en); cotovia-bicolor (pt); gralline pie (fr); alondra urraca (es); drosselstelze (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Grallinidae

This species is found in Timor, southern New Guinea and throughout Australia, occasionally also in Tasmania.

These birds are 26-30 cm long and weigh 80-115 g.

Magpie larks are found in almost any available habitat within their range, with the exception of dense rainforests and very dry deserts. They are often found inside urban areas.

They forage on the ground, taking various insects and their larvae, but also earthworms, freshwater snails and even small reptiles.

These birds can breed all year round, with both sexes building a bowl-shaped nest, made of mud, placed in an horizontal branch or similar structure up to 20 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-5 pinkish-white eggs with brown speckles, which are incubated by both parents for 17-19 days. The chicks fledge 21 days after hatching. Each pair can raise several broods per year.

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
The magpie lark has a very large breeding range and is described as very common. The population is suspected to be increasing as ongoing habitat degradation is creating new areas of suitable habitat.

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