Magpie Larks at Darwin

Subject: Magpie Larks at Darwin
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 16:12:56 +1000 (EST)
On Sun, 27 May 2001, Steve Popple wrote:
> Has anyone seen large roosting aggregations of Magpie Larks? Tonight driving
> home from Darwin I saw a group of at least 100 Aust Magpie Larks on dusk
> together on powerlines, although I've seen flocks of about 30 during the Dry
> season, this is the largest group I've seen to date. Any comments?

P.A. Gilbert in an article in Emu [1] describes a survey (by rail) in
Autumn 1930 of Magpie-lark flocks around Sydney.  The biggest was 3000
roosting in Moreton Bay fig trees in Centennial Park.  He describes the
"grand spectacle" of this flock's arrival to roost.  He notes these
flocks as forming in March and dispersing in July.

I don't think flocks of anything like this size occur now in Sydney.
Why they no longer occur is an interesting question, as is whether such
flocks occurred before European settlement of Sydney.

Andrew Taylor

[1] Gilbert, PA 1934. The seasonal movements and migrations of birds in
eastern NSW, Part II. Emu 34 200-209

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