Heartbreaking footage has been captured of an Australian magpie mimicking the sound of an emergency siren.

Wildfires have been raging through the states of New South Wales and Victoria, and it’s estimated that almost half a billion (480 million) animals have died as a result.

The video of the magpie was taken by a Facebook in the city of Newcastle, New South Wales. It has since gone viral across social media.

Magpies are capable of mimicking sounds that they hear – and in this case, it’s the sound of an emergency siren, as fire engines and ambulances have been rushing to attend to the devastation wrought by wildfires.

Distressing reports of suffering animals have been coming out of Australia since the wildfires took hold, with images and videos of crying koalas suffering from burns, the charred remains of livestock and kangaroos trying to escape giant blazes being shared online.

At least 17 people are believed to have died nationwide, while 106 fires are currently burning in New South Wales.

Australians are bracing themselves as rising temperatures, dry conditions and strong winds at the weekend threaten to increase the risk of more blazes.

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