While in Adelaide last weekend (for the AFL preliminary final) I became
aware for the first time of the "Piping Shrike", South Australia's official
government logo bird (or whatever its actual status is - it's on official
government stationery, etc). I realized that I had seen the stylized bird
with outstretched, curved wings many times previously without really taking
much notice of it, but I had never before heard or read the term Piping
So what is a Piping Shrike and what are the origins of this, presumably
local, name? I started by asking some locals - only to discover that there
is a fairly high degree of uncertainty in the minds of the lay populace.
They all knew of the Piping Shrike and its place in the state's heraldry,
but in response to my questions the following comments were typical:
"Probably a magpie." No, it's not a magpie - maybe a 'Murray Magpie'." "I'm
not sure." "I don't know where the name comes from."
[I note that one of the "Other Names" for Australian Magpie in the Reader's
Digest Complete Book of Australian Birds is Piping Crow-shrike (and that a
Murray Magpie is a Magpie-lark).]
So, here's the opportunity for local birding/official logo experts to
educate me, and any other ill-informed Birding-Aussers, about the name, its
origins and which bird it refers to.
Port Melbourne, Victoria
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