More Than Just Black and White

John V. Azua


Quite often outward appearances are
misleading and the Australian magpie
(Gynznorhina tibicen) is a prime
example. This bird appears unassuming
and very drab in appearance, but upon
further investigation its uniqueness can
be discovered.
l'pon first glance, Australian magpies
with their mostly black bodies, black
and white wings and varying black and
white backs. might suggest a kinship
with corvids. This is a common misconception.
These birds are taxonomically
classified in the family cracticidae
comprised of the butcherbirds and currawongs.
Another misconception
dealing with crows is the occasional
whining, cawing sound. However.
during species and territorial advertisement,
the Australian magpie has an
extraordinary organ-like fluted caroling
performed singly, paired and/or
group duets (Schodde & Tidemann,

Full Text:



Burton. T.C. and A.A. Martin. 1975. Analysis

hybridization between black-backed and

white backed magpies in southeastern Aus-

trilia . Emu, "'6: 30-36.

Carrick. Robert. 196.3. Ecological Significance of

Territory in the Australian Magpie, Gymnorbina

tibicen. Proc. XIII Intern. Ornithol.

Congr.: 740-753.

Schodde. Richard and Sonia C. Tidemann.

Reader's Digest Complete Book of Australian

Birds. Reader's Digest. Sydney. 1986.

Simpson, Kenneth and Nicolas Dary. The Birds of

Australia. Tanager Books. Dover. 1984 .

Clement;,. James F. Birds of the World : A

Checklist . The two Continentals Puhlishing

group. New York. 1974.


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