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

The Complete Guide to Australian Birds, by George Adams - Australian Magpie - Gymnorhina tibicen NEW: The Complete Guide to Australian Birds, by George Adams.

This is another of the newer ones (published in November 2018) that I bought recently (June 2020). It's got photographs rather than drawn pictures of the birds. They're really good quality photos. 10 or more years ago, the Australian bird field guides with photographs definitely weren't in the same class as the ones with hand-drawn pictures, but that seems to have changed. Now I think it's more a matter of personal preference. I imagine that the massive increases in availability of long-zoom-distance digital photographic equipment has made it much easier for there to be better quality photos of birds.

This book has colured strips down the outside of each page so you can find the different types of birds easily, which I really like.

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase from Australia (Angus & Robertson)

Purchase from Australia (The Nile)

Purchase from Australia (Fishpond)

Purchase from Amazon.com (USA Site)

Purchase from Amazon.com.au (Australian Site)

See Also

Australian Bird Field Guides

Return to Australian Birds
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