Butcherbirds (Cracticidae)

Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen) - HBW 14, p. 339

French: Cassican flûteur German: Flötenvogel Spanish: Verdugo Flautista
Other common names: Australasian Magpie, Piping Crow-shrike; Black-backed Magpie (longirostris, terraereginae, eylandtensis, tibicen); New Guinea Magpie (papuanus); Western Magpie, Varied Crow-shrike (dorsalis); White-backed Magpie/Crow-shrike (tyrannicus, telonocua, hypoleucus)

Taxonomy: C[oracias] tibicen Latham, 1801, New South Wales, Australia.
Often placed in a monotypic genus, Gymnorhina, partly on basis of adaptations for terrestrial ­foraging; inclusion in present genus supported by molecular studies. Races fall into three groups, the "black-backed group" (longirostris, terraereginae, eylandtensis and nominate) of NW, N & E Australia, the "white-backed group" (tyrannicus, telonocua and hypoleucus) of SE Australia and Tasmania, and the "western or varied group" (dorsalis) of SW Australia, the last possibly including papuanus of New Guinea; groups were formerly.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: C[oracias] tibicen Latham, 1801, New South Wales, Australia.
Often placed in a monotypic genus, Gymnorhina, partly on basis of adaptations for terrestrial ­foraging; inclusion in present genus supported by molecular studies. Races fall into three groups, the "black-backed group" (longirostris, terraereginae, eylandtensis and nominate) of NW, N & E Australia, the "white-backed group" (tyrannicus, telonocua and hypoleucus) of SE Australia and Tasmania, and the "western or varied group" (dorsalis) of SW Australia, the last possibly including papuanus of New Guinea; groups were formerly treated as representing three distinct species, but little congruence found between morphological variation and genetic variation. Races intergrade extensively: eylandtensis intergrades with terraereginae in C & S Northern Territory and NW Queensland, and latter race intergrades with all others (tibicen, tyrannicus, telonocua) where ranges meet; in SC Australia confusing intergradation involving telonocua, terraereginae, tyrannicus and eylandtensis; and dorsalis intergrades with longirostris over broad region of S Western Australia from Shark Bay E to SW edge of Great Victoria Desert. Proposed race finki (described from Horseshoe Bend, on Finke R, in Northern Territory) refers to an intergrading population between eylandtensis and presumably terraereginae; leuconotus (from South Australia) likewise relates to an intergrade. With so much complex intergradation and often only differences in size between races, recognition of so many races perhaps inappropriate; further study of differences between populations, including molecular-genetic analyses, is required. Nine subspecies provisionally ­recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • papuanus ( Bangs & J. L. Peters, 1926) - S New Guinea (S Trans-Fly region from Princess Marianne Strait E to Oriomo R).
  • eylandtensis ( H. L. White, 1922) - N Western Australia (Kimberley region) E through Northern Territory (including Groote Eylandt) to NW Queensland.
  • longirostris ( Milligan, 1903) - Western Australia from Dampier Land S at least to Pilbara region (inland extent uncertain).

     See all 9 subspecies
  • papuanus ( Bangs & J. L. Peters, 1926) - S New Guinea (S Trans-Fly region from Princess Marianne Strait E to Oriomo R).
  • eylandtensis ( H. L. White, 1922) - N Western Australia (Kimberley region) E through Northern Territory (including Groote Eylandt) to NW Queensland.
  • longirostris ( Milligan, 1903) - Western Australia from Dampier Land S at least to Pilbara region (inland extent uncertain).
  • dorsalis ( A. J. Campbell, 1895) - SW Western Australia (E almost to Eucla, S of Great Victoria Desert).
  • telonocua ( Schodde & Mason, 1999) - S Northern Territory and South Australia.
  • terraereginae Mathews, 1912 - most of Queensland (except Gulf region and extreme SE) and New South Wales W of Great Dividing Range (including most of Murray-Darling basin) S to E South Australia (S, E of L Eyre, to Murray R) and N Victoria.
  • tibicen ( Latham, 1801) - coastal SE Australia.
  • tyrannicus ( Schodde & Mason, 1999) - N & E Victoria (mostly E of Great Dividing Range).
  • hypoleucus Gould, 1837 - E half of Tasmania.