Interesting Magpies at Lameroo

Male Black-backed Magpie at Lameroo, South Australia

Sydney Trip Report June 2011

The various races of Australian Magpies make a fascinating – albeit confusing – study. Here in Murray Bridge, South Australia, the magpies are almost all of the White-backed variety. The further one drives east, the Black-backed magpies become the dominant race until over in Victoria and into NSW they are all Black-backed Magpies. Travelling north into Queensland or south into Victoria and the races (and amounts of black v. white change). Travel to Western Australia and the races change again. It can be quite confusing , especially when the races interbreed. Layer upon this the colour variations of juveniles and you have a recipe for a headache trying to identify which race you are seeing.

On our trip to Sydney earlier this year we stopped for morning tea at Lameroo in eastern South Australia. In the picnic grounds of Lake Roberts I took the photos on this post of a nicely coloured male Black-backed Magpie (see above and below). Interestingly, it was accompanying a White-backed female (see photo below). They were feeding together. I wish I was visiting Lameroo in the coming weeks to see if these two individuals breed together, or are just being sociable (as magpies are known to do).

Special offer: A few months ago I reviewed a wonderful book about Australian Magpies called The fearsome flute players. You can read the review and order the book by clicking here. There is a special offer when you mention you heard about the book on Trevor’s Birding.

Male Black-backed Magpie (left) with female White-backed Magpie (right)

Male Black-backed Magpie at Lameroo, South Australia

Male Black-backed Magpie at Lameroo, South Australia



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