Magpie-lark fishing - has been reported before in Canberra.

To: "Philip Veerman" <>, <>
Subject: Magpie-lark fishing - has been reported before in Canberra.
From: "Barbara Preston" <>
Date: Sun, 5 Jul 2009 14:09:29 +1000
Hi Philip
I think that was my observation you have in mind. I've kept most of the email exchange re HANZAB from the time. Following is what appeared in Canberra Bird Notes, 30 (2), June 2005, p. 84. Unfortunately the Magpie-larks do not visit  frequently these days, and I've had no more interesting sightings. 

Piscivorous Magpie-lark

A pair of Magpie-larks Grallina cyanoleuca have been resident in our neighbourhood for many years, rearing a good number of youngsters. We have a pond in which multi-coloured goldfish successfully breed every summer. The pond has a three metre by half a metre shallow section over river stones, where the fish, especially the young ones, spend time feeding. The Magpie-larks paddle through the shallows, finding insects among the plants edging the pond, small black water snails on the stones, and sometimes successfully eating the flesh of a ramshorn snail (though more often we find the safely withdrawn ramshorn on the ground around the pond ? safe, that is, if we get it back to the water in time).

In March 2004 the male Magpie-lark took a young white goldfish about four centimetres long. I saw him first with the wriggling fish firmly in his beak (fish tail one side, head the other) as he moved out of the water and over several metres of paving to where the female and offspring were fossi c k in g in l e a f l i t t e r . Unfortunately they were just out of clear view and I could not see what he finally did with the fish. It would have been interesting to know if indeed he ate it as, so far as I am aware, fish are not normally part of the diet of Magpielarks.

Barbara Preston

21 Boobialla Street, O'Connor, ACT



Barbara Preston Research
ABN 18 142 854 599
21 Boobialla Street
O'Connor  ACT  2602
Phone: 61 2 6247 8919
Fax: 61 2 6247 8779
Mobile: 0439 47 8919
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