Magpies warbling

To: "Birding-aus \(E-mail\)" <>
Subject: Magpies warbling
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2007 16:30:55 +1000
The book by Gisela Kaplan about magpies has lots to say about their vocal 
abilities and behaviour. They sing for similar reasons that most passerine 
birds sing. Yet according to Prof Kaplan their vocal prowess is very well 
developed with considerable learning abilities involved and capacity for 
variation. Not only that but they sing with a wider variety of contexts than is 
typical for most passerine birds. Both sexes sing throughout the year. As she 
said on TV recently, they exhibit the vocal start of what we have usually 
called cognitive development and leisure activity - this is a pretty unusual 
bird - she says. She gave a lecture about this, in Canberra (at ANU) on 
Saturday which was most interesting and attended by a big audience (including 

If the question is about it being "warbling" as a description of the type of 
sound, well that is just the way it is and it really doesn't matter what it 
sounds like to us.  As for Graham's question, I can only suggest either there 
is too much other noise or he is probably not listening properly (or he is not 
a youngster any more and not near these birds in the mornings). Or they aren't 
living in the parts of Sydney he is in. I doubt very much that there is any 
part of their range where they don't call.


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