Can anybody explain this magpie behaviour please?

To: 'COG' <>
Subject: Can anybody explain this magpie behaviour please?
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2019 10:47:29 +0000

Magpies attack all sorts of birds. Mostly other magpies. They frequently swoop at groups of W-w Choughs, these skirmishes rarely achieve anything, upsetting the choughs briefly, and then they both go on as if nothing happened. They regularly attack large raptors, I described them attacking groups of Galahs, maybe drawn to them by the raucous calls of the DY. Just as some Magpies specialise in attacking particular types of people, there may be differences in the birds they bother. Part of what might be the driving “motivation” could be isolation (from others) or difference (from others). That isolation (from other cockatoos that infected cockatoos tend to show) could be the trigger. It is possible but I would be surprised if there really is a consistent ability or trend for them to recognise cockatoos as having beak and feather disease and harass them for that reason. That is a big conclusion to make…….



On Tue, 24 Dec 2019 at 20:24, Charmian Lawson <> wrote:

Good afternoon


We have a family of four magpies, three adults and a juvenile, who frequent the big tree in our back yard.


On Friday, the very hot and smoky day, they were shouting non-stop. There was a yellow crested cockatoo in the tree and it was in dire straits. I thought initially they were distressed by its distress and the calling reflected this.


However, they started strafing it, trying to drive it away. This seemed to go on for ages. The cockatoo was very ill, and only recovered sufficiently to fly away after I had misted it thoroughly with the hose four times.


Now the shouting has started again. There is a cockatoo in “their” tree and I think it is the one from Friday but cannot be sure.


Can anybody please explain the magpies’ behaviour? They are usually pretty placid (except for one of the younger birds from 2017 I think, which one frequently attacked to the degree that the poor thing literally ran away and hid every  time the aggressive magpie flew in. Very sad to see.) and I really would like to know what is going on.


Thank you


Charmian Lawson


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