Australian Magpie - Gymnorhina tibicen

Australian Magpie

Gymnorhina tibicen

Family: Artamidae (Woodswallows, Butcherbirds, Currawongs, 15 species in Australia)
Size: 36-44 cm
Distribution: All of Australia except parts of western inland Australia and northern Australia
Status: Locally Abundant to Common
Habitat: Open forest, farms, urban land.
References: Simpson and Day, Reader's Digest, Wikipedia

The Australian Magpie is one of the most famous Australian birds. It is commonly seen in grassy open areas such as parks and sporting fields. It has a red eye. It is a distinctive looking bird and easy to identify, though occasionally currawongs are mistaken for magpies.

Around the breeding season (late August to early October) some magpies will attack humans that pass close to the nest, swooping down low and sometimes pecking the back of the head of the person. The attacker is almost always (99% of the time) the male bird. Holding a stick above your head is a good deterrent.Unlike the spurwing plover though, a magpie will usually attack from behind, and only an unusually agressive magpie will attack when you are looking right at it. There have been reports of magpies landing in front of someone and lurching up to land on their chest while pecking at their face and eyes, but I have never seen this happen.

Australian Magpie - Gymnorhina tibicen
Photo: Watsons Bay NSW. Higher Resolution (1221 x 915).

Australian Magpie - Gymnorhina tibicen
Photo: Watsons Bay NSW. Higher Resolution (1158 x 1047).

Australian Magpie - Gymnorhina tibicen
Artwork: John Gould, 'The Birds of Australia', 1848. Original Scanned Image.

Some Birdwatching Resources

Tasco Essentials 10x50 Binoculars - Australian Magpie - Gymnorhina tibicenTasco Essentials 10x50 Binoculars

I have the 8x40 of this series, which I bought because I saw them on special, and they had a much clearer image than the cheap no-name brand binoculars I had before. I would have got 10x50 instead if they had been on special also. These are great basic binoculars which can be used for birdwatching, stargazing, etc.

The first number (like 8 or 10) refers to the magnification, so bigger numbers mean you can see closer up, but the image will shake around more. The second number (like 40 or 50) is the diameter of the large lenses in millimetres. Bigger numbers mean more light gets in, so the image is clearer and better, at the expense of being larger and heavier to carry around.

With binoculars, once you get above the really cheap models (like $30-50), the image quality is pretty good. You can pay a lot more, like a few hundred dollars, or $1000 or $2000 even — but most of what you get isn't so much raw image quality but other features like durability, being waterproof, better lens coatings, image stabilisation, etc. Cheaper binoculars are more delicate and if not treated gently the two sides can go out of alignment with each other.

The product information says, "Tasco has been America's popular choice in sports optics for over 50 years. For half a century we've made it our mission to design and manufacture quality optics at prices that will fit any family's budget. Tasco products are packed with the latest features, built to exacting quality control standards, and designed to deliver a lifetime of satisfaction — so you can choose Tasco with confidence. With a great selection to choose from, you're sure to find just the right sports optics product for everyone in your family."

Purchase from Australia (Tentworld)

Purchase from Australia (BCF)

Browse different models of binoculars at [Tentworld] [Wild Earth] [BCF] [Kathmandu] [DWI] [Kogan] [Amazon USA]

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Australian Magpie - Gymnorhina tibicen

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