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Academic & Professional Books  Ornithology  Birds of Australasia

Australian Magpie Biology and Behaviour of an Unusual Songbird

Flora / Fauna
By: Gisela Kaplan(Author)
270 pages, 8 plates with 16 colour photos; & 66 b/w photos, 46 b/w illustrations
Publisher: CSIRO
Australian Magpie
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  • Australian Magpie ISBN: 9781486307241 Edition: 2 Paperback Apr 2019 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
Price: £38.95
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

The Australian magpie is one of Australia'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.

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.



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

Customer Reviews


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 groundbreaking 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.

Flora / Fauna
By: Gisela Kaplan(Author)
270 pages, 8 plates with 16 colour photos; & 66 b/w photos, 46 b/w illustrations
Publisher: CSIRO
Media reviews

"[...] All chapters are well researched and detailed but easy to read and the references are extensive, allowing the reader to follow up on areas of interest. There are numerous plates and figures highlighting observations made in the text: even complex scientific matters are written in an easily understandable way with figures or plates to help describe the key points to the reader. There is something of relevance for everyone in this book, from the casual observer just interested in their local magpies to researchers for whom this book forms a detailed source of knowledge on the Australian Magpie with many pointers to additional material."
– Jonathan T. Coleman, Ibis, 2020

"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)

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