Magpie’s have been voted to be one of Australian’s favourite birds and their song is one of the most intricate and beautiful – scientists are still trying to discover the different meanings their songs convey. I couldn’t resist painting these guys – I hope you can almost hear their tune!
The Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) is one of this country’s most accomplished songbirds, with an array of complex vocalisations. It also has distinctive black and white plumage, and was named because of this similarity with the European magpie; however they are not related.
Some authorities placed it in the same genus as the slightly smaller butcherbirds, and their similarity sometimes causes confusion. A common ancient ancestor has now been proven through a molecular study of their genes.
A sub species, the Western Magpie, (G. tibicen dorsalis) is found in the fertile south-west corner of Western Australia and is pictured here with Acorn Banksia (Banksia prionotes), which also occurs in that region.