Do birds have inter-specific alarm calls/language

To: "birding-aus " <>
Subject: Do birds have inter-specific alarm calls/language
From: "Ralph Reid" <>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 19:53:26 +1100
Hi all,

Several years ago I was on a property west of Wagga Wagga and my attention was drawn to two magpies screaming in a small eucalypt. A closer view revealed a lace monitor about 3 metres up the tree (I don't know if the magpies had a nest there, the foliage was sparse but I could not see one).

What suprised me, though, was that the magpie's alarm calls quickly drew 5 birds of 3 different species (white-browed babbler, magpie lark, crested pigeon) who all joined in hurling abuse at the monitor.

Were the magpie's alarm calls an example of a 'common threat warning' shared by the different species?


Ralph Reid

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