Primary School Science Conservation 2020 Award

Date posted: 18-Dec-2020

Dylan Lewis Y7 from Mahurangi College, Warkworth, being presented with the ..

Supporters of Tiritiri Inc and Fullers 360 Science Conservation 2020 Award

Date posted: 18-Dec-2020

The NIWA Auckland City Science and Technology Fair winner of the Supporters of Tiritiri ..

2020 Conservation Week

Date posted: 12-Aug-2020

Meet the Takahē on Tiritiri Matangi Island When: 1:30 pm, ..

AGM 2020

Date posted: 25-Jul-2020

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE TO WEDNESDAY 21ST OCTOBER 2020 due to Covid restrictions at t..

Ferry Resuming July 4th!

Date posted: 01-Jun-2020

Great News!!! We have confirmation Fuller360 ferry service to Tiritiri Matangi wi..

The 2020 Photo Competition Winners

Date posted: 22-May-2020

Here are the winning and commended photos from this year's competition. Congratulations to the photo..

Celebrate the Takahe Art Competition

Date posted: 08-Apr-2020

Hi Tiri Kids, It’s TakahÄ“ Awareness Month! Everyone loves our takah..

COVID-19 Important Information

Date posted: 25-Mar-2020

The government has announced that New Zealand is now at alert level 2 for COVID-19. Th..

2019 Winner Primary School Supporters of Tiritiri and Fullers 360 Science Award is Ethan Raymond

Date posted: 11-Mar-2020

Ethan has helped the Enviro-Warriors in many ways such as planning, gard..

2019 Winner Y8-Y13 NIWA Supporters of Tiritiri and Fullers 360 Science Award is Abby Haezelwood

Date posted: 11-Mar-2020

Abby Haezelwood with her winning Science Exhibit on Plastic Beaches at the NIWA Taihoro Nuk..

Australian Magpie

Scientific name:

 Gymnorhina tibicen



Conservation status

 Introduced and naturalised

Mainland status:

 Locally common


 41cm, 350g 


 6+ yrs, in Aust 19+ yrs possibly


 July - December


 Omnivorous, but mainly invertebrates

Introduced from Australia between 1864 and 74 to control pasture pests, magpies were protected until 1951. Two sub-species, the black-backed and the white-backed, were introduced, but the white-backed magpie predominates except in Hawke’s Bay and North Canterbury where up to 95% are black-backed. Magpies are widespread in open farmland with trees or forest, parks and gardens.

This large black and white bird has a pale bluish-grey, black-tipped bill. The song, which is heard especially at dawn and dusk, is a beautiful, flute-like carolling, characterised as ‘quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle’ in Denis Glover's famous poem. Young birds are often heard softly 'practising' their song as they potter around feeding.

The Australian magpie eats a wide variety of invertebrates such as grass grubs, weevils, army worm caterpillars, porina, worms, spiders, ants, flies, crickets and snails. These are supplemented with seeds, grain, small birds, eggs, lizards, mice and carrion. Although magpies are widely assumed to have a detrimental effect on other bird species, there is little evidence for this. Birds and eggs form only a small proportion of their diet and they are opportunistic feeders rather than active predators. They may even help to protect other species by driving away any harriers that appear in their territory.

Breeding takes place between July and December. The nest is a platform of twigs with a cup lined with small twigs, leaves, grass and wool, usually built high in tall trees such as pines, macrocarpas or eucalyptus. The clutch of 2–5 pale bluish green eggs with olive blotches is incubated by the female for 20–21 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge at around 28 days old.  

A pair of Australian magpies frequents the southern part of Tiritiri Matangi. They and their offspring are often seen around the lighthouse area and on Coronary Hill.

Learn more about the Australian magpie at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photographs, adult male (right) and adult female (left) by: Kay Milton ©

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking. Moon, G The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds.