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Australian magpie

Australian magpie - juvenile

Young Australian magpie, Gymnorhina  tibicen, IMG 4009 - The magpie’s species name ‘tibicen’ is a Latin word meaning ‘flute player’, and while this most familiar of birds lacks the ability to play any musical instrument, it has a wide array of delightful and melodious calls.

Its voice is one of the iconic sounds of the Australian bush and of the corners of suburbia that it also inhabits, and while these appealing birds can mimic the calls of many other species, it’s the magpie’s own unique and inimitable song that has earned it a place in the hearts of many Australians. The renowned 19th century British ornithologist, artist, and writer John Gould commented that “to describe the note of this bird is beyond the power of my pen”, but other authors have attempted to write the words to the magpie’s most common song, and in their opinion it goes like this. “Waddle, giggle, gargle”, and “quardle, oodle, ardle, wardle, doodle”.

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