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Re: Magpie mayhem

I can confirm that Australian magpies aren't glossy (they've been introduced
here in New Zealand), not in the way that _Pica pica_ is. Also, I've never
heard of any crow singing like an Australian magpie - Australian magpies
have quite complex songs, quite melodious if you can ignore the sheer
psychosis of the animal producing it (I seem to recall Pew the magpie trying
to take on Horse, which may just mean something to some listers out there
:-) )
    Offhand, the so-called 'Australo-Papuan songbirds' (Corvida of Sibley &
Monroe (1990)) now appear to be paraphyletic with regard to the Passerida,
containing most northern songbirds (but not crows). Barker, Cibois et al. in
the unfortunately-anagrammed PNAS a few weeks ago
(www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/101/30/11040) is the most recent I know
of, and has a roughly similar topology to what most studies have come up
with - in Sibley & Monroe's terminology, more or less Acanthisittidae
((Eurylaimides + Tyrannides)(Menuridae ((Climacteridae +
Ptilonorhynchidae)(Meliphagoidea (Corvoidea + Passerida))))),though each of
the last three groups would have to lose and gain some members. _Gymnorhina_
'magpies' and _Pica_ magpies are both Corvoidea, but not particularly close
in that group.


        Christopher Taylor

On 16/8/04 5:29 am, "Ronald Orenstein" <ron.orenstein@rogers.com> wrote:

> At 11:29 AM 8/15/2004, kustom66 wrote:
>> How can Aussie magpies not be related to crows, let alone other maggies??
>> We have crows here too. Are they not the same as N.H. crows?
> As I mentioned before, they are related to currawongs and butcherbirds -
> they are only called "magpies" because they are, like Pica magpies,
> black-and-white (but not glossy, as I recall).  Australian "robins" aren't
> related to European or American robins, either - in fact most Australian
> songbirds belong to a radiation of bird families pretty much confined to
> the region.  Australian crows and ravens are, however, really members of
> the crow family and the genus Corvus, as Northern Hemisphere crows are.
> And yes, of course I know that Australian magpies attack people - it's just
> that they aren't "real" magpies.  And White-eared Honeyeaters will land on
> your head and try to pull your hair out for nesting material - one used to
> do that to me regularly in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
> --
> Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
> International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
> 1825 Shady Creek Court
> Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          mailto:ron.orenstein@rogers.com