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Australian Magpie male feeding female

(Gymnorhina tibicen)
Alternate name(s): "Flute Bird", "Piping Crow-shrike"
(includes "Black-backed Magpie" and "White-backed Magpie")
Aboriginal name(s): Race "tibicen": "burrugaabu" [gamilaraay]; "galamarin"/"gulamburan"/"gulgurang"/"gurahmburuhn" [bundjalung];
Race "terraereginae": "burrugarrbuu" [yuwaalaraay]; "jawajawa" [ngadjon];
Race "dorsalis": "koorbat", "koorbardi", "koorbardo", "parwan"
Race "tyrannica": "karrak", "kurruk" [yartwatjali, tjapwurrung, djadjawurrung];
"koora", "barrawarn", "bilinga", "coorabie"

Size: 37-44 cm; wing span 65-85 cm
Weight: 220-350 g

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The following photos illustrate behaviour that we have observed at the start of the breeding season (early September 2011). The female, who will be doing all of the incubating in the weeks to come, will rely on her mate to feed her while sitting on the nest. The two strengthen their bond in advance, with him feeding her (either on or off the nest). This way she tests his reliability as a partner.

The female uses the same incessant call as a chick to beg for food

The male responds by bringing her special gifts...

... which she accepts and then brings out of his reach

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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