Australian Magpies - id request

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
Jim Kirker
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:54 pm

Australian Magpies - id request

Postby Jim Kirker » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:01 pm

These two were foraging on a playing field this evening. The one on the grass has a white nape and brown eyes, so an immature male ? The one that flew off and perched on a nearby soccer goal has scalloped brown belly feathers and dark brown wings, so a juvenile sex indeterminate ? They both have a saddle, incomplete in what I think is the older bird.
P1120628 (4).JPG
Australian Magpie, Liston Park, Auckland 09/10/19
P1120628 (4).JPG (612.94 KiB) Viewed 715 times
P1120632 (3).JPG
Australian Magpie, Liston Park, Auckland 09/10/19
P1120632 (3).JPG (229.93 KiB) Viewed 715 times
Last edited by Jim Kirker on Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Australian Magpies - id request

Postby Hypno » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:06 am

the one one the grass with a cream bill is adult male, juveniles have a black bill and grey breast. Perched bird looks a female Juvenile based on the grey side portion of the breast feathers i can see, hard to tell with out seeing the bill and breast fully.both may have some hybridization with back backed? ... _267230124
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Re: Australian Magpies - id request

Postby Jan » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:22 pm

The first one is a female I would say. Males have pure white backs.
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Re: Australian Magpies - id request

Postby Clinton9 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:42 pm

Larger White-backed magpies are common thought NZ, but smaller Black-backed magpies lives in east NZ.
They are very very wary & nervous and cannot be approached, expert breeding season when they become aggressive and attack humans and animals in defense of their chicks.

White-backed magpie are slightly bigger than feral pigeons.

Numbers and colors & pattern of immature plumages between first winter plumage and adult plumage, are unknown.
Adult Post breeding moult are complete, for 6 months from October to April, with all black flight feathers replaced once a year.

Not protected, due they had attacked native birds and blackbirds, and humans.

Lifespan: 20 years.

2-3 chicks per nest per year.
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Re: Australian Magpies - id request

Postby pithius7 » Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:02 am

The first one on the grass is an adult, given the light blue beak colour. Juvenile's beaks are black. It is also a female given the mottled gray colouring on her back. Adult males are pure white around the nape, often extending through to their back.
The second magpie is unlikely to be an adult with the lighter coloured feathering on the underbelly. Adult's feathers are jet black, with the males carrying a slight blue sheen on their chest area. Magpies moult 4 times before they finally get their adult colouring. It is very difficult to pinpoint whether they are male or female prior to that.
They are mistakenly thought to be "corvids" like crows and NZ rooks, but are actually "artamids" like butcher birds in Aus.
Jim Kirker
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:54 pm

Re: Australian Magpies - id request

Postby Jim Kirker » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:45 pm

Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. I will accept the first one as male, but not in final adult plumage due to the grey mantle, which makes it look female, but I think the white nape clinches it as male. They were in the same place this morning and a photo of the second bird shows a very pale grey bill with darker tip, so more adult than juvenile and with entirely grey nape and mantle likely to be female. I am concluding they are a young male and female pair, in this location for at least a fortnight.
P1120757 (2).JPG
Australian Magpie, probable immature female, Liston Park, Auckland 24/10/19
P1120757 (2).JPG (336.78 KiB) Viewed 402 times

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