Piping Crow-shrike

To: "brian fleming" <>, <>
Subject: Piping Crow-shrike
From: "McGowan, John" <>
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 13:22:53 +1000
Being a South Australian (Oh okay a Pom originally) now living in Melbourne I 
agree with everything said on the subject except the last couple of sentences. 
My recollection of the 'Crows' for the first AFL team  from Adelaide was that 
the name was the first choice-remember it wasn't an existing club?  I think the 
team referred to was Port Adelaide (black 'n' white/magpies etc) whom the AFL 
refused to allow to retain their colours and nickname on the basis that 
Collingwood had the nick name and colours and were already in the AFL and 
probably more importantly were a Victorian team (did I say that?...)

John Mc


From:  on behalf of brian fleming
Sent: Mon 2/10/2006 11:27 AM
Subject: Piping Crow-shrike

I have been trying to get this message to Birding-aus for days but my
computer skills weren't up to it.

     "Crow-shrike" was the vernacular name given by Gould to Australian
Magpies, Currawongs and Butcher-birds.  He separated the Magpies in
three species, "Piping" for  Gymnorhina tibicen, the Black-backed form
he found in NSW, White-backed for the form he found in South Australia,
and Tasmanian, and suspected another in W.A. but had no specimens to
prove this. (See his Handbook).  He does not record the name 'Magpie' in
use by colonists at the time (1839-40), but it was certainly current -
the Oxford 'Australian Words and their origin'  cites a 1792 occurrence
in the journal of R.Atkins (who ate it in a soup) .  You can't get much
earlier than that!

       English-speakers call anything black and white a Magpie, whether
a bird, piebald horse or bullock, or a football team.  The colonists and
convicts were remembering the European corvine bird, which is very
different, having a long fantail and not very much white.  A friend
visited the London Zoo and saw an Australian Magpie there, (early1950s).
He was ticked off by a bystander for not using the official "Piping
Crow-Shrike" which was on the label on the cage.  Incidentally 'tibicen'
is latin for flautist.  Gould quotes the Tasmanian colonists' name for
their bird as 'Organbird' - because it sounded like an out-of-tune

       "Murray Magpie" is South Australian for what I call a Mudlark in
Victoria and Sydney-siders call a Peewee. and the books call a
Magpie-Lark.  I noticed a few weeks ago that 'Macca' of  the ABC's
'Australia All Over' doesn't seem to know that a Murray Magpie is not a

        South Australia and Western Australia are the only colonies (now
States) which chose native wildlife as their badges - black swan for
W.A. of course.  The derisory expression 'Crow-eater' for a South
Australian is said to derive from the badge, but may have been current
from very early days.  When the Adelaide team joined the AFL, it could
not keep its original Magpie name and colours, so became the Crows

Anthea Fleming

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