Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday 73 - Australian Magpie

While it may be easy to think of birds like Emus, Cassowary and parrots as icons of Australian birdlife, I think this list misses a real classic.

Australian Magpies are big, bold, occasionally aggressive and (surprisingly given this description) wonderful singers.  They are also very easy to see over the vast majority of Australia.

Many of those otherwise wasted moments on train platforms or in queues have been occupied in watching these birds.

Like so many other Australian birds, their common name is misleading.  The Australian Magpie is more closely related to butcher birds than crows - and it is really only its black and white colour that links it to its European namesake.

The bird has a checked taxonomic history with groups of birds once considered species now though of as races of one species - Gymnorhina tibicen.   The final part of its name refers to "piper or flute player" which as the book next to me says is "very apt".

At about 40 cm long these are large birds and at this time of year you often find well grown young birds noisily begging for food from their parents.








Now it's your turn to join in with WBW.  Good number of bloggers have been linking up over the past month, but we can always find space for more!  So, invite away and don't forget to link back here!



53 comments:

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Great shots Stewart - interesting info too. Thanks for sharing!

Ruby

Optimistic Existentialist said...

You have so many beautiful birds there in Australia!! What a beauty!

Montanagirl said...

Very striking bird, and lovely photos! He sure has a substantial looking bill!

Christian Perrin said...

Stunning photos, Stewart - such shallow depth of field and amazing 'bokeh'!

I agree with what you say about our good ol' Maggie - a beautiful bird! I recently saw a Youtube video of one playing with a puppy, which is well worth a look!

Irma said...

Really great to see these beautiful Magpie .
I think he does not suffer from that leg which half is missing.
Greetings Irma

Mary Gerdt said...

Great bird! Looks like a Crow, no a pidgeon...

TexWisGirl said...

a rather striking bird. would certainly catch my eye as we don't get magpies of any kind here.

NatureFootstep said...

is that a magpie? Looks pretty much like our hooded crow. :)

Dave said...

Is this a juvenile Stewart? Looks a little tatty around the edges. Out Magpies get a bit of bad press over here in the UK, however they are a superbly handsome bird.

EG CameraGirl said...

Handsome birds, elegant in black and white.

Gunilla B├Ąck said...

Beautiful photos of this handsome bird.

Findlay Wilde said...

It looks a bit like a cross between a Magpie and a Hooded Crow. A really nice bird. From Findlay

Gordon said...

It looks a bit more Crow-like than our Magpie Stewart, a bit like a Hoody.
Smart bird.
All the best , Gordon.

Andrea said...

I love the Magpies we have over here, but I am quite certain they are no relation to yours as they don't have a beautiful song. I will be forced to look this up now, but I think they are probably related to our crows who also don't have a beautiful song. Our Magpies are not as big as yours but look very much the same ... and they are characters. They are bold and comical and will steal food right off of your plate if you are eating outside. The Magpies in Australia are beautiful and shouldn't be overlooked. Common, I always think, just means that they are smart enough to survive. Great post, Stewart :)

Andrea @ From The Sol

Mama Zen said...

Beautiful shots!

stiefbeen said...

dat is weer een mooie austaliesche vogel prachtig zo zien wij nog eens wat anders.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Big Bold and don't forget...BEAUTIFUL!!

Sharon Wagner said...

And speaking of emus and flutes. I saw the funniest segment on a show called, "Tosh . O" A guy with a flute was serenading an ostrich. And it was dancing and weaving to the music. So funny!

Chris Rohrer said...

Gotta love the big and bold birds like the Magpie group. They certainly are colorful characters:)

Andrew Fulton said...

Fantastic images Stewart... it's a beautiful looking bird.

Karen said...

What characters these birds are! Great captures!

Kenneth C Schneider said...

Interesting birds. They have a sort of "upside down" plumage pattern reminiscent of our Bobolinks-- light on top and dark beneath.

Phil Slade said...

Now i am really confused because that bird looks like a crow rather than a shrike! oh well, the scientists must be right - they always are LOL. Nice pics Stewart.

mick said...

Great photos of the Maggies! I love their songs. The occasional aggressive birds are a real problem.

Carole M. said...

a very nice series on our Magpie, and I see them rolling around on their backs playing with one another, like little puppies. Think it must be a toughening up process because sometimes they get a bit out of control and the weaker one shrieking out - you see this too?

bailey-road.com said...

What a handsome bird! Great shots.

eileeninmd said...

Stewart, great series on your Australian Magpie.. It does look different then the Magpie I have seen here in the states. Thanks for hosting, have a happy week!

HansHB said...

Great serie of photos.
We saw a lot of these magpies in Australia! They are cute!

Kerri Farley said...

Such a beautiful bird!

Brian King said...

Very striking! I love the heavy bill and the plumage! A handsome bird.

Pallavi said...

That is one beautiful and majestic bird. Great shot Stewart :)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

The colors are the same as the magpie we see in Eastern Washington and Oregon ... I tried to get a picture when we visited there this summer, but no luck ... anyway yours is lovelier and ours is related to (and sounds like) the common crow. So yours wins (and another bird that gives you songs!)

Wally Jones said...

Well, I never would have guessed your magpie was a good singer!
They're handsome birds but have less than a sterling reputation.

Very nice photographs, Stewart!

Wally Jones said...

Well, I never would have guessed your magpie was a good singer!
They're handsome birds but have less than a sterling reputation.

Very nice photographs, Stewart!

Connie Smiley said...

Beautiful shots, Stewart, of this interesting bird. I'd love to hear it sing.

Nora at Island Rambles said...

I have not ever seen one of these Magpies, just in books. It is wonderful to see the variety of the birds around the world. thanks Stewart for doing this.

Our photos said...

What a beautiful bird!

Jo said...

Stewart, how well you've captured a bird (like our crow) that's normally scorned. Beautiful images. Have a great day. Jo

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Stewart Yes I agree, A great bird in fact is one of the birds in my post today. I didn't have time to make a 1 bird informattive post today as I am still on holidays but going home today for a rest!!! Great photographs of the Magpie.

Arija said...

I love our Maggies they start carolling just a little after the blackbirds before dawn. Whenever I have been overseas for a prolonged time, I have missed the magpie's warble and gum trees most of all. Of course when I live here, I miss a lot of the natural features of the northern hemisphere as well.
I suppose that is the human condition, the more you know of the world the less contented we are in a single place, there is always something we miss about other places.

Babs Helferich said...

wow!

Liz Needle said...

Great magpie shots. A favourite in my garden, though the dogs are not fond of them because they steal the dogs' bones.

Pete Shanley said...

I do love their carolling. I am reminded of Pamela Allen's children's book "Waddle Giggle Gargle"!
I wish they weren't associated with a particular Australian Rule Football team.

Faye said...

Handsome bird--especially the white markings on back. Looks like wearing a cape. They look like very intelligent birds?

Phyllis Oller said...

The bird does look like he is thinking heavily as he sits.Beautiful bird I have not seen before,phyllis

edenhills said...

It is a very beautiful bird with those markings! Love the contrast.

Anne (cornucopia) said...

What a great looking bird! Nice photos!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Splendid, handsome looking birds Stewart. I had never seen the Blackbilled Magpies we have out West here until 3 or 4 years ago and I was immediately taken in by them. Thank you again so much for hosting Wild Bird Wednesday~

maryaustria said...

Wonderful shots! One of the view birds in nature I can identify at once! ;)

babsjeheron said...

What an fascinating bird that is. I especially like the way. It is posing in the first photo.

pattisjarrett said...

I like your Magpie. I seem to remember my mother calling me that--do you suppose she meant I was being noisy? ;)

Adam Jones said...

That's a lovely Magpie. Nice to see one different to our own here.

Pat Tillett said...

They are so active! Great characters and good looking. Nice photos of them Stewart!