Australian Magpies are big, bold, occasionally aggressive and (surprisingly given this description) wonderful singers. They are also very easy to see over the vast majority of Australia.
Many of those otherwise wasted moments on train platforms or in queues have been occupied in watching these birds.
Like so many other Australian birds, their common name is misleading. The Australian Magpie is more closely related to butcher birds than crows - and it is really only its black and white colour that links it to its European namesake.
The bird has a checked taxonomic history with groups of birds once considered species now though of as races of one species - Gymnorhina tibicen. The final part of its name refers to "piper or flute player" which as the book next to me says is "very apt".
At about 40 cm long these are large birds and at this time of year you often find well grown young birds noisily begging for food from their parents.
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