Birds Behaving Badly - Australian Magpie

Australian Magpies, Gymnorhina tibicen, are strongly territorial and defend their territories both from other magpies as well as potential predators. Unfortunately, some individual magpies perceive humans as a potential threat and accordingly, swoop down with a fast warning flight, occasionally making contact. Only a small minority of Australian Magpies behaves like this, and some of these aggressive magpies will only swoop on particular people.

Territorial behaviour varies greatly, depending on the stage of the breeding season, so most of the aggressive Australian Magpies will only be a problem for a couple of weeks. Wearing a hat during the period in which a bird is aggressive is one practical way of avoiding injury. In extreme situations, the National Parks and Wildlife Service issue permits for the destruction of dangerous birds.

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