Magpies

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Magpies

Australian magpie with dead mouse.

Two species of magpie, the black-backed magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen tibicen) and the white-backed magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen hypoleuca) were introduced into New Zealand in the 1860s. They originate from Europe and feed mainly on the ground, taking a wide variety of invertebrate prey.

Magpies are accused by many of robbing the nests of indigenous birds, although there is no hard evidence to support this. They do act aggressively toward intruders when nesting.

Populations of the black-backed magpie exist mainly in Hawkes Bay but the white-backed magpie is common throughout New Zealand. Localised infestations of the white-backed magpie exist throughout Marlborough.