If you've been following the news of late, you may have heard of some unlucky Sydney residents being attacked by Magpies outside their local shopping centre. It's well known that some Magpies become much more territorial in the breeding season, the peak being August to November.

Australian Magpie
Magpie Image: Stuart Humphreys
© Australian Museum

During this time, they're primarily looking to defend their nest and newborn. Magpies construct their nests in the outer branches of trees and these can be up to 15 metres about the ground.

Swooping on intruders, including humans, does tend to trigger some debate over whether the birds are actually aggressive or defensive.

Arguments aside, Magpies have a beautifully individual call. Their song is loud, lyrical and flute-like. They often perform as a duet or in groups.

They also have very distinctive features. Their feathers are black and white, but the plumage pattern does vary across the animal's distribution range. The eye of the adult bird is chestnut brown.

No matter how you categorise this bird’s behaviour (at certain times of the year), it does possess some beautiful attributes.

So when out and about this Spring, remember: be alert not alarmed.

Quick Facts –

  • We rate this animal as a 4/10 Danger Rating. Why?
  • During mating season, pets and humans watch out!