"Bob & Penne Carr" <>
Thu, 1 Nov 2012 06:02:16 +1100
“During mock fights, birds often lie on their sides on the ground,
wrestling with claws”. This mock fighting amongst Australian Magpies, as
described in HANZAB (Vol. 7; pp 599) was witnessed by us at Brushgrove on
the NSW North Coast. The Magpies we witnessed also engaged their bills to
assist in the warding off of their opponent’s claws. The birds were lying
on their sides facing each other, fending off the opponent’s feet and
ripping and grabbing at their opponent. This activity was conducted
either separately, whilst the other played “dead” or simultaneously.
After a couple of minutes both birds stood up, side by side. One bird
bent forward and placed its bill on the ground and then pushed up into a
bill/head stand, and held this position for several seconds. The Magpie
then flopped over onto its back on the ground and remained in this
submissive or “pretending to be dead” (HANZAB, Vol. 7; pp 599) position for
maybe 30 seconds before it stood up. Both Magpies then continued
searching for food as if nothing had happened.
We can find no reference to this bill stand and flopping over onto the back
and wonder if anyone else has witnessed any such behaviour.
*Bob & Penne Carr*
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