Australian Magpie: Biology and Behaviour of an Unusual Songbird

CSIRO PUBLISHING
2
Free sample

The warbling and carolling of the Australian magpie are familiar to many although few of us recognise that it ranks among the foremost songbirds of the world. Its impressive vocal abilities, its propensity to play and clown, and its willingness to interact with people, make the magpie one of our most well-known birds. This insightful book presents a comprehensive account of the behaviour of one of Australia's best-loved icons. It reveals the extraordinary capabilities of the magpie, including its complex social behaviour, in a highly readable text. The author brings together much of what we know about the magpie’s biology and behaviour, including her latest research on magpie vocalisation as well as aspects of anatomy, physiology, development and health not published previously. Australian Magpie is ideal reading for all those interested in Australian natural history, including amateur and professional ornithologists, and undergraduate students.
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Additional Information

Publisher
CSIRO PUBLISHING
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Published on
Oct 5, 2004
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Pages
152
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ISBN
9780643098572
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / General
Science / Life Sciences / Zoology / General
Science / Life Sciences / Zoology / Ornithology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Renowned for its unusual mammals, Australia is a land of birds that are just as unusual, just as striking, a result of the continent's tens of millions of years of isolation. Compared with birds elsewhere, ours are more likely to be intelligent, aggressive and loud, to live in complex societies, and are long-lived. They're also ecologically more powerful, exerting more influences on forests than other birds.
But unlike the mammals, the birds did not keep to Australia; they spread around the globe. Australia provided the world with its songbirds and parrots, the most intelligent of all bird groups. It was thought in Darwin's time that species generated in the Southern Hemisphere could not succeed in the Northern, an idea that was proven wrong in respect of birds in the 1980s but not properly accepted by the world's scientists until 2004 - because, says Tim Low, most ornithologists live in the Northern Hemisphere. As a result, few Australians are aware of the ramifications, something which prompted the writing of this book.
Tim Low has a rare gift for illuminating complex ideas in highly readable prose, and making of the whole a dynamic story. Here he brilliantly explains how our birds came to be so extraordinary, including the large role played by the foods they consume (birds, too, are what they eat), and by our climate, soil, fire, and Australia's legacy as a part of Gondwana. The story of its birds, it turns out, is inseparable from the story of Australia itself, and one that continues to unfold, so much having changed in the last decade about what we know of our ancient past. Where Song Began also shines a light on New Guinea as a biological region of Australia, as much a part of the continent as Tasmania. This is a work that goes far beyond the birds themselves to explore the relationships between Australia's birds and its people, and the ways in which scientific prejudice have hindered our understanding.
The tawny frogmouth is both intriguing and endearing. In this new book, well-known author Gisela Kaplan presents us with an easy-to-read account of these unique nocturnal birds of the Australian bush. This detailed account of life, behaviour and biology of tawny frogmouths is based on the most comprehensive single study ever conducted on tawny frogmouths, including wild and hand-raised birds. It combines ten years of systematic observation with published research to take us across a surprising range of characteristics and special features of this unusual bird. This book also notes insights derived from specific regional bird fauna surveys across Australia. We are shown this captivating Australian species in completely new and even unexpected ways. We learn that tawny frogmouths are very affectionate, have close bonds with lifelong partners, scream like prowling tomcats when distressed, fight with lightning speed and defend nest sites from reptilian predators by mobbing and spraying pungent faeces at these dangerous opponents. Uncompromising male fights are contrasted with a touching gentleness of males as fathers. We also learn how resilient and unusual tawny frogmouths are in the way they cope with heat and cold, sit out danger, do without drinking for most of their lives, and can use a large variety of food items. The developmental stages of nestlings and juveniles are illustrated with a number of stunning visual images accompanying the text, most of which have never before been described or seen.
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