Swoop the magpie and Mowgli the cat form unique friendship

They might be known for their feistiness, but a magpie on the Awhitu Peninsula is showing a softer side.

Swoop was rescued by local pounamu carver Matt Owens, who found the magpie bleeding on the side of the road.

"It was just sitting there bleeding, sort of unable to walk properly and it looked like it had been abandoned by its mum so I just picked it up and decided to take it home," he told Newshub.

Yet there was a slight issue, with Owens already owning a rescue cat named Mowgli.

"I slowly introduced those two together and I was just really surprised the cat came to love it," he says.

"Now they're sort of best mates and they just hang out with each other all the time. Usually they're just roaming around together; the bird's lying on his back and cuddling with the cat."

Owens, 32, documented the friendship on Instagram and has since been flooded with interest from people overseas as well as New Zealand.

"I treat him like a wild bird. My job is just to look after him and keep him alive, but he's chosen to stay," he says.

"I don't think it's a good idea to go out and find a magpie but in this instance it needed to be done - he would have died otherwise."

He says the bird is very clever.

"[You can] sort of just teach him something once and he learns it. Food-wise he's learnt to eat out of a bowl," he says.

"Magpies and crows and birds of that family, they're very intelligent. They can use tools to get food. He knows when I get home that I go to the back door so he flies to the back door."

Owens said Swoop the magpie has brought joy during a difficult period in his life, acknowledging his father is going through a rough patch.

He says he wants to dedicate a story he did with Newshub to his father.

See more of Swoop and Mowgli on their Instagram page here.