Australian Magpie Attacks Red-capped Robin

I spent the last weekend of March at Dryandra State Forest (about 2 hours SE of Perth), assisting a banding team.

Late on Saturday afternoon (about 4:30pm) I was looking out over a wheat field with some stubble when I saw two small birds fly out into the paddock.  I then saw an Australian Magpie attack them in flight.  One bird flew vertically and was pursued by the magpie until the magpie seemed to 'stall', at which point the small bird dived and made for cover in a fallen branch of a tree.  I then identified it as a male Red-capped Robin.  I don't know where the second small bird went.

This is the first time that I have seen a bird avoid a predator this way before.  It is also the first time that I have seen a magpie attack another bird in flight.  One of the banders mentioned that when he released a Red-capped Robin at another site, it flew straight up before heading off into the distance.  Usually a banded bird flies to a nearby tree, shakes itself off, and then moves on.

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002 Visits Last Modified 31st January 2002