|Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen
The Australian Magpie is distributed throughout most of Australia, including Tasmania, except the very arid interior and the extreme north. They are also found in New Guinea.
|It is a social bird living in smallish groups and feeds on the ground where it preys on invertebrates.
It is a bird of open woodland and requires trees for nesting. Schodde & Mason mention that before settlement the species occurred in islands of open woodland "within a sea of denser forest across the continent." This has led to a high degree of regional differentiation and intergradation as the species has spread in line with the disappearance of the forest.
|There are 9 sub-species only one of which is not found in Australia. I have tried to identify these photos by
sub-species but some may represent intergradations between sub-species.
Photos 1 (male) and 2 (female) are of the sub-species G. t. tyrannica. The back is uniformly white in males and clouded milky-white in females. The female also has a broadened whitish collar. The sub-species is further distinguished by the very broad black terminal band on the tail.
|I think that photo 3 is also a male tyrannica though the black terminal band on the tail does not look so broad. This photo was taken at Wyperfield, Victoria as was photo 4 which shows a totally different plumage most notably the black rather than whitish back. I am assuming that this bird is of the race terraereginae and that the milky-grey collar suggests that it is a female. Wyperfield is in the zone of intergradation between these two sub-species.|
|Photo 5 was taken at Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Range of South Australia and I believe this shows a male terraereginae with the white collar hardly extending onto the mantle and a narrow black terminal band on the tail.|
|Photo 6 was taken at Kuranda, Queensland and is definitely of the sub-species terraereginae with the entirely black back. In this race the male and female look similar but with the female having a milky-grey collar. I think this bird is a female though the collar is not showing very well.|
|Photo 7 was taken at Port Elliot in South Australia and I believe shows a female of the sub-species telonocua. This race has a white back in the male while in the female the back is a dull mid-grey with white edging and the whitish collar is narrower. The terminal black band on the tail is medium sized.|
|Photo 8, taken at Adelaide, shows a male of the race telonocua with its white back.|
|Photo 9, also taken at Adelaide, shows a female of the race telonocua showing the mid-grey back with white feather edging.|
|Photo 10, taken at Porongurup National Park, Western Australia, shows a male of the sub-species dorsalis with its all white back.|
|Photo 11, taken at Busselton, Western Australia, shows a female of the sub-species dorsalis with its black back with white feather edging.|
|Photos 12 and 13 were taken in Tasmania and so are of the sub-species G. t. hypoleuca. The mottling on the underparts and darker bill indicate that this is an immature.|
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