Australian magpie

Black-backed (Gymnorhina tibicen) and White-backed (Gymnorhina tibicen hypoleuca)

Containment Pests

There are two species of Australian Magpie, the Black-Backed Magpie and the White-Backed Magpie. They were introduced from Australia during the mid-to-late 1800s, with the aim of controlling invertebrate pasture pests. Both species of Australian Magpie commonly interbreed, producing birds with intermediate markings. They feed mainly on the ground, taking a wide variety of invertebrate prey.

Reasons for the Strategy

Australian Magpies restrict native birds moving between patches of native vegetation, and Australian Magpie in a treehave been known to kill smaller birds. They compete with and displace other birds for nesting sites because of their territorial behaviour. Australian Magpies act aggressively toward intruders when nesting, and defend areas of up to 5 hectares.

Australian Magpies are assessed at “5” on the infestation curve. They are widespread in low numbers throughout the region, apart from Golden Bay, where only two sightings have been reported. Given the widespread distribution of Australian Magpies, the best option is for the Management Agency to provide advice and assistance to the public to control Australian Magpies, especially in areas of high conservation value, such as Golden Bay and the Upper Buller. Assistance to land occupiers will include instruction in the field on control techniques. Extensive areas of suitable habitat, and the potential for them to cause significant adverse effects, mean the benefits of containment control far outweigh the costs.


To address the adverse effects of Australian Magpies in the Tasman-Nelson region during the term of the Strategy.

Alternative Measures

The principal alternative measure is to adopt a greater level of regional intervention, such as requiring land occupiers to control Australian Magpies. However, this option is considered inappropriate, given the widespread distribution of Australian Magpies and the difficulty in controlling them.

Strategy Rule for Australian Magpie

The Management Agency will promote and encourage control, and provide traps on request.

Biosecurity Act Requirement

No person shall knowingly sell, propagate, breed, release, or commercially display Australian Magpies, under Sections 52 and 53 of the Act.