Australia is a country full of majestic birds. We have the kookaburra, the willy wagtail, the Southern cassowary and plenty more incredible species that take to the sky and fill the air with song.
But when it comes to the nation’s favourite bird, there can only be one and despite its divisive nature, this year’s Bird of the Year is the Australian magpie.
The black and white bird, known for stalking and swooping innocent children, won the BirdLife Australia competition, with 19,926 votes.
The competition, which ran in conjunction with The Guardian Australia, hoped to select Australia’s finest birds.
Surprisingly, the white ibis, fondly known as ‘bin chicken’ scored a respectable 19,083 votes, followed by the laughing kookaburra with 10,953 votes.
The Guardian posted the top 10 birds to social media.
Editor of Australian BirdLife magazine Sean Dooley spoke to ABC News Breakfast, after the winner was announced on Monday.
“The bin chicken — the ibis — was leading when the poll went dark on The Guardian website,” Dooley said. “Coming up close behind it was the magpie.
“It has been neck-and-neck in the home straight but the magpie has been the number one bird — the Bird of the Year is the Australian magpie.”
Following the win, people took to social media to express their delight.
One user said, “Australia has restored a small piece of global sanity with the election of the Magpie.”
While another user said, “You only voted Magpie out of fear. I understand.”
You only voted Magpie out of fear.I understand.
— Sydney Weather Tweeter (@glengyron) December 10, 2017
“Interestingly, the magpie and the ibis, voted one and two, would probably also win the least favourite,” Dooley said.
While some dislike the swooping bird, Dooley went on to say that magpies do have something to offer.
“They’re incredible birds and they have an amazing vocal range, they’re one of the most complex vocal birds of any bird in the world,” he said. “It is so evocative – that kind of carolling.
“Magpies are easily tamed and people have a great connection with them. They love to feed them.”