Re: birding-aus NZ Magpies don't call?

Subject: Re: birding-aus NZ Magpies don't call?
From: kim sterelny <>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 21:11:09 +1200
>A biologist friend of mine asked me to post this question on the list.
>Does the Australian Magpie, Gymnorhina tibicen, call and/or sing in New
>Long (1981) gives a good account of the introduction of Magpies to NZ.
>Australian Magpies were introduced in a big way to NZ from as early as 1864
>by some very thorough acclimatisation societies.  Both races were
>introduced and birds were sourced from mainland Australia and Tasmania.
>My friend beleived that magpies do not sing or call from a short visit he
>made to NZ late last year.  Not having been to NZ I could not answer his
>question.  Does anyone on the list have evidence one way or another?
>Martin O'Brien
>Executive Scientific Officer
>Scientific Advisory Committee
>Threatened Species Program
>Department of Natural Resources and Environment
>4/250 Victoria Pde.,
>East Melbourne,  3002
>Victoria, AUSTRALIA
>tel: +61 3 9412 4567
>fax: +61 3 9412 4586

       My impression (and its certainly no more than that) is that NZ
magpies do call, but their carolling is an abbreviated or cutdown version
of their full Australian song. If so, perhaps this is evidence for cultural
transmission. Do they have local dialects in Australia?


ps One small piece of evidence for their singing is that there is a very
well known New Zealand poem (called, I believe, The Magpie) which
represents its calling.
Kim Sterelny
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600, Wellington
New Zealand

phone: 64/(0)4/4721-000
Fax: 64/(0)4/495-5130
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