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Australian Magpie

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Australian Magpie

Biology and Behaviour of an Unusual Songbird

Australian Natural History Series

Gisela Kaplan   University of New England

Colour illustrations
152 pages, 240 x 170 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

    Paperback - 2004
ISBN: 9780643090682 - AU $ 29.95

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The warbling and carolling of the Australian magpie are familiar to many although few of us recognise that it ranks among the foremost songbirds of the world. Its impressive vocal abilities, its propensity to play and clown, and its willingness to interact with people, make the magpie one of our most well-known birds.

This insightful book presents a comprehensive account of the behaviour of one of Australia's best-loved icons. It reveals the extraordinary capabilities of the magpie, including its complex social behaviour, in a highly readable text. The author brings together much of what we know about the magpie’s biology and behaviour, including her latest research on magpie vocalisation as well as aspects of anatomy, physiology, development and health not published previously.

Australian Magpie is ideal reading for all those interested in Australian natural history, including amateur and professional ornithologists, and undergraduate students.


  • Provides a completely new perspective on this unique Australian icon
  • Combines rigorous academic research with hundreds of hours of personal observation by the noted author
  • Unravels the complex family and social behaviour in a highly readable text

 1 Origin and classification
2 Anatomy
3 Diet and feeding habits
4 Territoriality and dispersal
5 Bonding and breeding
6 Physical and social development
7 Agonistic and cooperative behaviour
8 Song production
9 Communication and mimicry
10 Magpies and humans
Epilogue The success of magpies

 Australian Magpie

“For all you ever need to know about these amazing birds. ‘Australian Magpie‘ is well worth the read.”
Allison Milnes (Bird Care & Conservation Society SA Magazine Jan 2005)

“... Although it is very detailed, even the most amateur birdwatcher will easily digest the wealth of fascinating information about this best known and widely distributed Australian singer. ... This is a book that will be treasured by anyone even slightly interested in this ubiquitous songster ...”
Pauline Reilly (Corella v.29 no.1 Mar 2005)

“Professor Kaplan writes in her Introduction, ‘This book aims to make this specials Australian more accessible to the many people who have an abiding interest in Magpies’. This aim is ‘spot on’.”
David Plant (The Bird Observer Jno.836 June 2005)

“Don’t be put off by the indispensable scientific data. A study of this book will have everyone looking anew at this ubiquitous bird.”
Tess Kloot (The Victorian Naturalist v.122 no.3 June 2005)

 Award-winning author, Professor Gisela Kaplan, is a researcher in the Centre for Neuroscience and Animal Behaviour at the University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales. She is highly regarded internationally for her publications on animal behaviour including books on birds, orangutans and wild dogs. Her research into magpies spans more than ten years and thousands of hours of observation of free-ranging magpies and nest-sites. 

Related Titles
 Wildlife Conservation in Farm Landscapes    Circle   The East Asian–Australasian Flyway: Population Trends, Threats and the Future   An Atlas of the Birds of NSW and the ACT Volume 2    Australian Wildlife After Dark    Seabirds of the World    Double Helix Issue 04  


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