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Abstract

This study is a descriptive catalogue of the behavior patterns of the Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen, Cracticidae), a member of the Australian corvid assemblage (SlBLEY & AHLQUIST 1985) and a group-living species that maintains year-round territories. The ethogram is constructed with comparisons to the cracticid genera Strepera and Cracticus and the closely related genus Corvus. In comparison with Corvus species, Australian magpies have few close-range social communication patterns, and there are few interactions among members of the same territorial social group. Conversely, Australian magpies exhibit many behavior patterns used in long-distance communication related to territorial aggression and defense. The foraging and food item manipulation patterns of the magpie are more limited than in currawongs (Strepera) or in Corvus. These differences may be due to the Australian magpie's highly specialized territorial way of life and relatively narrowly defined diet. Corvus and Strepera species are generalists that exhibit flocking, partial migration, and a lesser degree of territoriality. Territoriality in Gymnorhina may be an evolutionary response to environmental factors, interspecific competition with other cracticids and Corvus, or both.