Mudlarks (Grallinidae)

Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) - HBW 14, p. 270

French: Gralline pie German: Drosselstelze Spanish: Grallina Australiana
Other common names: Australian Magpie-lark, Little/Murray Magpie, Mudlark, Pied Grallina

Taxonomy: C[orvus] cyanoleucus Latham, 1801, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Proposed and formerly widely used name picata is a synonym of nominate race by first revision (both names were simultaneously published for same taxon). Relationships of genus disputed; has in the past been thought to be closely related to the two species of Struthideidae, but genetic analyses indicate no such relationship; on basis of recent genetic studies, has been placed in drongo family (Dicruridae) or in monarch-flycatcher family (Monarchidae), and apparent close affiliation with latter supported by details of skull morphology; has also been suggested as being related, on basis o.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: C[orvus] cyanoleucus Latham, 1801, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Proposed and formerly widely used name picata is a synonym of nominate race by first revision (both names were simultaneously published for same taxon). Relationships of genus disputed; has in the past been thought to be closely related to the two species of Struthideidae, but genetic analyses indicate no such relationship; on basis of recent genetic studies, has been placed in drongo family (Dicruridae) or in monarch-flycatcher family (Monarchidae), and apparent close affiliation with latter supported by details of skull morphology; has also been suggested as being related, on basis of examination of skulls, to butcherbirds and currawongs (Cracticidae) and woodswallows (Artamidae) and, from comparison of egg-white protein, to the crows (Corvidae). Although many modern taxonomists favour placement of present genus with Monarchidae, and despite some similarities in external morphology, the two differ markedly in behaviour and nest structure. For the time being, it is considered best to retain the present family as a separate entity, although close relationship to Monarchidae appears very probable. Smaller race neglecta intergrades with nominate in N Australia (in broad band from C Northern Territory E to W & NC Queensland); was for long considered not worthy of recognition, but recent study suggests that biometric differences significant. Birds of this species on Timor and in S New Guinea of unknown racial identity; study needed. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • neglecta Mathews, 1912 - N Western Australia (Kimberley) E to N Queensland (Cape York).
  • cyanoleuca ( Latham, 1801) - W, C, E & S Australia.