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The Australian Magpie is a medium-sized black and white bird whose curious personality and cheerful, caroling song have established it as a backyard favourite. Magpies are an omnivorous bird whose diet consists mostly of small insects, lizards, frogs, meat scraps and grains. Fortunately, they are particularly fond of scarab beetles - a common lawn pest!

Magpies are highly protective of their young and may swoop people if they feel threatened. This behavior is particularly prominent during nesting season in spring and will usually only last for 3-4 weeks. If possible, take an alternate path during this time. Read more about how to protect yourself from swooping birds here.

Sutherland Council Native Swooping Bird Fact Sheet (PDF 238kb)

Please remember:

  • Magpies are a protected species in NSW.
  • It is against the law to kill the birds, collect their eggs or harm their young. 
  • If you feel a magpie is a serious menace, report it to Council or National Parks and Wildlife Services.

Contact WIRES if you find an injured native animal

More information



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