Generally black and white birds in Australia are aggressive. A.H. Chisholm
wrote of it years ago in "Bird Wonders of Australia". It can be regarded as
a case of Muellerian mimicry, like noxious insects being yellow and black.
So in that sense it is not likely to be learned by individuals as much as in
evolutionary history. By the way Willie Wagtails are routinely aggressive in
From: John Leonard <>
Date: Thursday, 2 September 1999 11:52
Subject: birding-aus birds' antagonistic behaviour
>An interesting idea from my wife. She walks to work every morning through a
>Canberra suburb and across some open ground; this area has at least one
>pair of swooping Magpies which she must walk past, but in the last few days
>she has also been swooped by Noisy Miners, Magpies Larks, and even a Willie
>What she and I want to know is do the other birds learn antagonistic
>behaviour from other species, ie does a pair of swwoping Magpies 'teach'
>the other birds to be more antagonistic that they would be otherwise?
>John Leonard (Dr),
>PO Box 243,
>Woden, ACT 2606,
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