Australian Magpie

Paperback - May 2019 - AU $45.00

eBook - May 2019 - eRetailers Google Books Kobo

An insight into the cognition, communication and social structure of this iconic Australian bird.

The Australian magpie is one of our nation’s most popular and iconic birds. It is loved for its impressive vocal abilities, propensity to play, excellent parenting and willingness to form enduring friendships with people. + Full description

Written by award-winning author Gisela Kaplan, a leading authority on animal behaviour and Australian birds, this second edition of Australian Magpie is a thoroughly updated and substantially expanded account of the behaviour of these birds. With new chapters on classification, cognition and caring for young, it reveals the extraordinary capabilities of the magpie, including its complex social behaviour. The author, who has devoted more than 20 years to studying and interacting with magpies, brings together the latest research on the magpie’s biology and behaviour, along with information on the origin of magpies, their development and health not published previously.

This fascinating book has a wide appeal to bird lovers, amateur ornithologists and naturalists, as well as those with a scientific or professional interest in avian behaviour and ecology and those interested in the importance of native birds to the environment.

- Short description


Read more on our blog:
Magpies are clever, cheeky and charming songbirds – find out just a few of the reasons why we admire them: Swoop Right Into Our Hearts: Four reasons to love magpies.


"The book is profusely illustrated with 75 black-and-white photos and 16 color plates that illustrate many behavioral and other aspects of Magpie biology. I found the book a good read and would recommend to anyone with an interest in songbirds."
William E. Davis, The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 131(4), December 2019

"This updated and extended second edition provides a fascinating account of magpie biology and behaviour, and will have wide appeal to bird lovers, ornithologists and naturalists."
Crikey! Magazine, Winter 2019

"I found this book a joy and delight to read, with the colour illustrations to exemplify the points particularly entertaining."
Wendy Morris, Western Australian Naturalist News, 28 January 2020


Paperback | May 2019 | $ 45.00
ISBN: 9781486307241 | 280 pages | 245 x 170 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Colour plates, Illustrations, Photographs

ePDF | May 2019
ISBN: 9781486307258
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers

ePUB | May 2019
ISBN: 9781486307265
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers


  • Provides a fully updated account of this unique Australian icon
  • Combines rigorous academic research with hundreds of hours of personal observation by the author
  • Unravels the complex family and social behaviour of magpies in a highly readable text
  • Written by one of Australia’s leading animal behaviour researchers


1. Origins
2. Which is the ‘real’ magpie?
3. Anatomy
4. The brain and the senses
5. Diet and cognition in foraging
6. Managing a territory
7. Bonding and breeding
8. Caring for the young
9. Social rules and daily life
10. Song production and vocal development
11. Communication
12. Magpies and humans
Epilogue: The success of magpies


Gisela Kaplan is Emeritus Professor of Animal Behaviour at the University of New England and an Honorary Professor at the Queensland Brain Institute. She is the author of more than 250 research articles and has conducted ground-breaking research into vocal learning, communication and cognition in birds and other vertebrates. She holds two PhDs and an honorary DSc for her contributions to life sciences. In addition to extensive field research on birds, for the past two decades she has also raised and rehabilitated injured native birds.

Also by this author: Bird Minds: Cognition and Behaviour of Australian Native Birds and Tawny Frogmouth.