Sunday, 21 March 2021

Australian Magpies

These Australian Magpies Gymnorhina tibicen, photographed at the beach at Iluka, New South Wales, are after a meal. They've obviously learnt that humans mean food scraps. They are a different family to European magpies, which are in the crow family.

Australian Magpie, New South Wales, Australia. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A juvenile, hoping for a handout.

The warbling and carolling calls of this species are one of the things Australians always miss when they live overseas. Being attacked and pecked on the head by over zealously protective nesting magpies is one thing they don't miss though. They are fondly referred to as maggies, and some people encourage them into their gardens by putting out scraps of meat for them. They will get so tame they will take it from the hand. Individual magpies may live to 30 years old in the wild. Unlike many birds on the ground, they walk, rather than hop. 

Australian Magpies, New South Wales, Australia. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A magpie family, female on the left, male in the middle and a juvenile, with dark beak and mottled feathers on the right.

Any Australian sporting team that wears black and white is most likely to be known as the Magpies.

The magpie population is thriving and ubiquitous in all urban areas of Australia. They live in groups with territory that they defend.


Autolycus said...

Once, when visiting Sydney, I whistled back at a magpie. We had quite a conversation, in fact. So different from the aggressive-sounding rasp of our own magpies (and I don't mean Newcastle United fans).

chm said...

In California there is a special kind of magpie, the Yellow Billed Magpie. Thfey haunt reststops on highways for food!

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