The Magpie-Lark with the Missing Toes

I was in my backyard the other day, basking in the wonderful sunlight, when the most amazing thing happened. A little magpie-lark, not oblivious to my presence, landed just a few feet away from me and stalked around the garden looking for food. At first, I assumed it was a magpie, although I knew magpies didn’t look quite like that. I didn’t know it was a magpie-lark until I did some extensive research afterwards. And they are very different birds! This guy was an agile-looking fellow with a smaller, slimmer build than a regular magpie. And yes, he is male. The males have a characteristic black eyestripe and a black throats. Females have white throats. They are also known as mudlarks or peewees, depending on which part of Australia you come from.

I would find out later while reviewing my shots that the poor little thing was missing some toes! Birds often lose toes through disease or traps. I felt quite sad for Mister Peewee. But other than the missing toes, he seemed pretty active and in the pink of health! I hope he lives a long and happy life!

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