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By Keith Maslin

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Not all magpies may have access to the same nutritional value of food. 6 The magpie’s range of food items may be large, but there is often substantial skill involved in acquiring it. Earthworms and larvae can usually be reached only by methods of extractive foraging, which requires special skills and adaptations. Magpies are able to locate these prey by listening to the very slight sounds they make when moving. 1 Summary of foods consumed by Australian magpies throughout Australia. , plant remains mice, small rodents, meat scraps bird eggshells, quails Reptilian/amphibian Mammalian Other Source: summarised from Barker and Vestjens 1990 Diet and feeding habits 25 very small speakers buried in the ground, they played back the recorded sounds.

One individual begins to emit the sounds and another one or two magpies join in chorus. 2). It has the sole function of proclaiming and confirming 38 Australian Magpie ownership of the territory and may also function as a reconfirmation of social bonds of the group. Carolling has been identified as the magpie’s most effective weapon in retaining territory (see also ‘Carolling and dueting’ in Chapter 9). 9 It is important to stress that territorial behaviour and defence is independent of the level of hormones circulating in a magpie’s body (gonadal state).

On finding a cracked bone a magpie may spend a considerable amount of time trying to extract the marrow from the bone. For this purpose, the magpie takes the bone in one foot, then, if the bone is not too heavy, tips it up so that the exposed side faces upwards. Not unlike a parrot, the digits of the foot can be used like a hand and the bone is held as if it were an ice-cream cone. Because of the weight of the bone, this position usually cannot be maintained for more than a few seconds. A second technique is to hold down the bone with the left foot, at the open-ended edge, while the magpie bends over Diet and feeding habits 27 and inserts its beak into the bone.

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