The Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen is a glossy black and white bird about 36-44 centimetres in size.
Australian Magpies are common birds, with colonies of birds living year round in territories that are actively defended by all members. The colony depends on its territory for feeding, roosting and nesting requirements. They are found wherever there is a combination of trees and adjacent open areas, including parks and playing fields. The Magpie is not found in dense forests or dry deserts.
Although relatively tame (they can easily be hand fed) they will become very aggressive during breeding season. Spring, in Australia, is known as Magpie season, when swooping birds can inflict injuries on any one entering their territory.
Australian Magpies can be seen walking on the ground using their beak to drill deep into the soil to gather food.
Little known fact: The Australian Magpie has one of the world’s most complex bird songs.
For reference I consult the Simpson & Day Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. I have the fifth edition, however I believe there is now a sixth edition.
More information can also be found here: http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Cracticus-tibicen
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