Australian Magpie Edition 2

Biology and Behaviour of an Unusual Songbird

September 2019
More details
  • Publisher
    CSIRO Publishing
  • Published
    9th September 2019
  • ISBN 9781486307241
  • Language English
  • Pages 280 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  • Images 16 color photos, 66 b/w photos & 46 b/w illus

The Australian magpie is one of that nation’s most popular and iconic birds. It is loved for its impressive vocal abilities, propensity to play, excellent parenting and willingness to form enduring friendships with people.

Written by award-winning author Gisela Kaplan, a leading authority on animal behavior and Australian birds, this second edition of Australian Magpie is a thoroughly updated and substantially expanded account of the behavior of these birds. With new chapters on classification, cognition and caring for young, it reveals the extraordinary capabilities of the magpie, including its complex social behavior. The author, who has devoted more than 20 years to studying and interacting with magpies, brings together the latest research on the magpie’s biology and behavior, along with information on the origin of magpies, their development and health not published previously.

This fascinating book has a wide appeal to bird lovers, amateur ornithologists and naturalists, as well as those with a scientific or professional interest in avian behavior and ecology and those interested in the importance of native birds to the environment.


• A fully updated account of this Australian icon, written by one of Australia’s leading animal behavior researchers

• Interweaves rigorous academic research with hundreds of hours of the author’s personal observations

• Unravels the complex family and social behavior of magpies in an engaging text



Chapter 1 Origins

Chapter 2 Which is the ‘real’ magpie?

Chapter 3 Anatomy

Chapter 4 The brain and the senses

Chapter 5 Diet and cognition in foraging

Chapter 6 Managing a territory

Chapter 7 Bonding and breeding

Chapter 8 Caring for the young

Chapter 9 Social rules and daily life

Chapter 10 Song production and vocal development

Chapter 11 Communication

Chapter 12 Magpies and humans

Epilogue: The success of magpies




Gisela Kaplan

Gisela Kaplan is Emeritus Professor of Animal Behaviour at the University of New England and an Honorary Professor at the Queensland Brain Institute. She is the author of more than 250 research articles and has conducted groundbreaking research into vocal learning, communication and cognition in birds and other vertebrates. She holds two PhDs and an honorary DSc for her contributions to life sciences. In addition to extensive field research on birds, for the past two decades she has also raised and rehabilitated injured native birds. Her books include: Bird Minds: Cognition and Behaviour of Australian Native Birds and Tawny Frogmouth.

Ornithology; Magpie; Songbird