Family Monarch-flycatchers (Monarchidae)

Least Concern

Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca)


French: Gralline pie German: Stelzenmonarch Spanish: Grallina australiana

C[orvus]. cyanoleucus


, 1801,

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Smaller race neglecta intergrades with nominate in N Australia (in broad band from C Northern Territory E to W & NC Queensland); long considered not worthy of recognition, but biometric differences appear significant. Name picata is a synonym of cyanoleuca, and in past was widely used for the species; the names were published simultaneously, with cyanoleuca selected by First Reviser. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. c. neglecta Mathews, 1912 – N Western Australia (Kimberley) E to N Queensland (Cape York); also in E Lesser Sundas (Timor)#R and, probably this race, S New Guinea (S Trans-Fly region)#R.
  • G. c. cyanoleuca (Latham, 1801) – W, C, E & S Australia.
  • Introduced (nominate race) on Lord Howe I.

    Descriptive notes

    25–30 cm; male 63·9–118 g and female 70–94·5 g (nominate), male 71–102 g and female 60–90 g (neglecta). Male has broad... read more


    Loud and metallic vocalizations, of three main types: solo call, a monosyllabic or disyllabic note... read more


    Open vegetation, farmland, parks and gardens; requires surface water supply, and consequently is... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly invertebrates, including insects, spiders (Araneae), worms (Oligochaeta) and crustaceans; also small frogs, occasionally some seeds... read more


    Timing related to rainfall, availability of mud for nest construction, daylength and probably temperature: in SW Western Australia... read more


    Mainly resident, with some local movement; partly migratory in some areas. Adults usually sedentary... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to abundant over much of Australia, where one of the most familiar birds in towns and on farms; locally common in S New Guinea; no recent... read more

    Recommended citation

    Tingay, A. & Tingay, S. (2019). Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 May 2019).