birding-aus Magpie Attacks Red-capped Robin

Subject: birding-aus Magpie Attacks Red-capped Robin
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 13:12:31 +0800

I sent the following message Sunday, but it seemed to have fallen into the
birding-aus black hole ...

I spent last weekend at Dryandra State Forest (about 2 hours SE of Perth),
assisting a banding team.  While there I had some good observations.

Late on Saturday afternoon (about 4:30pm) I was looking out over a wheat
field with some stubble when I saw two small birds fly out into the
paddock.  I then saw an Australian Magpie attack them in flight.  One bird
flew vertically and was pursued by the magpie until the magpie seemed to
'stall', at which point the small bird dived and made for cover in a fallen
branch of a tree.  I then identified it as a male Red-capped Robin.  I
don't know where the second small bird went.

This is the first time that I have seen a bird avoid a predator this way
before.  It is also the first time that I have seen a magpie attack another
bird in flight.  One of the banders mentioned that when he released a
Red-capped Robin at another site, it flew straight up before heading off
into the distance.  Usually a banded bird flies to a nearby tree, shakes
itself off, and then moves on.

Frank O'Connor

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