Magpie Chough interactions

To: Birding-aus <>, Canberra Birds <>
Subject: Magpie Chough interactions
From: John Leonard <>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2011 13:44:32 +1100
Interesting Magpie Chough interactions observed today in a suburban
Canberra park.

A party of Choughs were foraging along a tan-bark border. The local
Magpies began swooping them and they cowered under bushes and next to
a fence. The Magpies landed and one swaggered up to a Chough. The
Chough ran forwards in a low submissive posture and quickly swept an
area free of tanbark, which the Magpie then began picking over. The
female Magpie then did exactly the same thing to another Chough with
the same result. For a few minutes the Magpies and Chough foraged
along side each other, the Choughs didn't specifically sweep any more
areas for the Magpies, but the Magpies were following the Choughs and
foraging in the areas they had just cleared. After a while the Choughs
slunk away under some low bushes where the Magpies didn't follow.

My interpretation was that the Magpies were intimidating the Choughs
into clearing areas for them to pick over, and the Choughs were doing
this to avoid being swooped or driven away quickly.

Has anyone observed this behaviour before?

John Leonard

I want to be with the 9,999 other things.

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