Magpie colours

To: Trevor Hampel <>
Subject: Magpie colours
From: Brian Fleming <>
Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 21:19:44 +1000
Trevor Hampel wrote:
> 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
I've seen a brownish White-backed Magpie at Little Desert Lodge near
Nhill some years ago, and an almost all-white one with normal
White-backed Magpies on the eastern side of Westernport - near Reef
Island. It looked remarkably like a white plastic bag blowing about in
the paddock. Both seemed to be accepted by other Magpies in the
vicinity. I don't think they are very uncommon. I think I have photo
slides of both.
Anthea Fleming in Ivanhoe
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