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Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie
Photo Information
Copyright: Alan Kolnik (Alan_Kolnik) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 236 W: 38 N: 343] (2616)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2016-04-10
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D610, Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S VR
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/640 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Perth 2016
Date Submitted: 2016-04-23 13:58
Viewed: 2964
Points: 6
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Australian Magpie appears to have claimed the backyard where I photographed it as his territory. It would let me come close enough to almost touch it. Note the strange beak - the upper part seems to have overgrown the lower part.

Like other birds I photographed in Australia, it is surprisingly big and I should have stopped down to get more depth of field to cover its whole body reasonably sharply.

I've included some link to sites that report the magpie's tendency to attack passers-by when the are near the nest during nesting season - especially those on bicycles.

Australian Magpie
Cracticus tibicen

There are few birds that are as familiar to Australians as the Australian Magpie. This striking black-and-white bird is, according to the experts, a large species of butcherbird. Apart from its widespread distribution — there are few places in Australia where magpies do not occur — the species’ familiarity is probably due equally to its pleasant carolling song, which is such an essential part of the Australian soundscape, and for its tendency to swoop at people during its springtime nesting season.

Research featured in the 'State of Australia's Birds 2015' headline and regional reports indicates that the Australian Magpie is declining in some regions, while increasing in others. In the East Coast region, reporting rates for this species have declined significantly since 1998.


The Australian Magpie is black and white, but the plumage pattern varies across its range. Its nape, upper tail and shoulder are white in males, grey in females. Across most of Australia, the remainder of the body is black. In the south-east, centre, extreme south-west and Tasmania, the back and rump are entirely white. The eye of adult birds is chestnut brown.


Australian magpies are notorious for a habit that can cause injury and distress to humans - swooping. This nasty little habit, done to protect the bird's territory when it feels its nest is threatened during nesting season, can result in skin injuries, eye injuries and sometimes chunks of flesh being removed through contact with claws or beak.

Unfortunately, as noted by the Flinders University Research Centre for Injury Studies, people have even died from magpie swooping attacks, such as losing control of a bicycle after a swooping attack to the temple. Hopefully, such a terrible outcome is a very rare instance but even the average swoop is not a fun experience and it is important to take precautions against the possibility by managing our own behaviour, rather than that of the birds.
Here is a map of reported magpie attacks in 2015:


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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2016-04-24 1:17]

Hello Alan,
Special photo of this magpie with a strange overgrown beak. Fine sharpness and eye contact.

Hello Alan,
I saw a documentary in this bird where they shoed how this species attack people who rides bike. Well capture. Nicely framed.
Thanks for sharing,

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2016-04-24 17:40]

Hello Alan,
A great shot of this beautiful Australian Magpie. With it's deformed beak it is a wonder it is able to feed normally, but it must be doing OK as it looks very healthy.
The detail is exceptional and the contrasting black and white colors are quite striking to say the least. Super work!!

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