AGM 2019

Date posted: 09-Sep-2019

Our Annual General Meeting was held at 7:30 pm on Monday 23rd September at the F..

More plaudits for Tiritiri Matangi

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

Recognition of the wonderful experience visitors have when visiting the Island h..

Results of the 2019 Photo Competition

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

The results of this year's competition have now been decided. Click here (/2019-photo-co..

Lighthouse Open Day

Date posted: 30-Apr-2019

Our historic lighthouse, signal station and diaphonic foghorn will all be on dis..

We need a new Treasurer

Date posted: 08-Apr-2019

The Supporters need a new treasurer to take over in September when Kevin Vaughan..

2019 Concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2019

OrigiNZ, the tartan taonga are returning for the 2019 concert. Click..

Tiri's three unique foghorns

Date posted: 01-Feb-2019

Our next social event will take place on Monday 18th March when Carl Hayson and ..

Young Conservation Superstars win awards!

Date posted: 27-Jan-2019

Gabriel Barbosa and teacher Kate Asher, a team leader who co..

Entries for the 2019 photo competition

Date posted: 19-Jan-2019

We are now taking entries for the 2019 photographic competition. You can enter u..

Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

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.