Great minds think alike!
See "Bird Wonders of Australia", by Alec H. Chisholm, (Angus & Robertson,
1948), Chapter 10 "A Study in Black & White" which begins:
"Can you tell me," said a visiting Englishwoman, "why it is so many of
the common Australian birds are black and white?
"Here was a nice point. It was one that I had not previously known to
be remarked upon by a visitor, although it has been a subject for cogitation
among Australian naturalists during many years."
Skipping to Chisholm's final para, seven pages later:
"On the whole then, we may perhaps agree to regard the assertiveness of
black and white birds, together with the practice of nesting in company, as
something more than a haphazard development. Both occurrences, no doubt,
are variants of nature's remarkable protective strategy, and their purpose
is that basic natural aim, perpetuation of the species."
You should be able to track down a library copy? (Or an "Amazon"
second-hand one, maybe?) If not, get back to me privately.
But don't expect anything too erudite: my copy is autographed: "For Syd
Curtis with the Benediction of the Author of this Gossip". And the book is
more reminiscence than science. Delightful just the same. And when he sent
me the copy (Dec. '52), he was Editor-in-Chief for the preparation of the
Angus & Robertson "Australia Encyclopaedia", testimony to the high regard in
which he was held in the publishing world.
> From: "Cas and Lisa Liber" <>
> Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2008 13:30:04 +1100
> To: <>
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Black and white ground dwellers
> I was musing on this, the coincidence of the magpie goose, Australian
> Magpie, Magpie lark, and Willie Wagtail all having black and white plumage
> as well as adapting to terrestrial habitat in their respective groups?
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