Magpie colours

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Magpie colours
From: "Trevor Hampel" <>
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 21:22:31 +0930
Hi there birders
Yesterday I was at a function at Geranium Primary School in the Murray Mallee districts of South Australia. Geranium is about 2 hours drive east of Adelaide on the road to Ouyen in Victoria.
One of the helpers knew I was interested in birds and asked me to take a special look at the Magpies in the playground and oval area. She commented that she had never seen brown backed magpies before.
I checked it out and sure enough three of the resident birds had a chocolate coloured back. They were tame enough for me to approach to within about 3 metres. One in particular had quite a definite chocolate colour on the wings; the others only had a tinge of brown. As it flew off the outer 6 to 8 centimetres of the primary feathers appeared quite brown, the colour making a district brown band right across the outstretched wings as it landed. While it was overcast at the time the light was quite good.
Has anyone else observed this in magpies?
Trevor Hampel
Murray Bridge
South Australia
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