Books  Ornithology  Birds of Australasia 

Australian Magpie: Biology and Behaviour of an Unusual Songbird

Flora / Fauna

Series: Australian Natural History Series

By: Gisela Kaplan(Author)

208 pages, colour illustrations


Paperback | Oct 2004 | #145917 | ISBN: 0643090681
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £23.95 $31/€27 approx

About this book

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.

"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)


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

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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.

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