Running Time:

65 min

Release Date:

February 2009

Recording Location:

1. Capertee Valley, NSW

2. Near MacDonnell's Peak, outback South Australia
3. Yarra Valley, near Melbourne, Victoria

4. Baringup, central Victoria

A Madrigal of Magpies

The Australian Magpie has - for many - one of the most beautiful voices to be heard in the Aussie bush. If there were a collective term for a family of magpies warbling and carolling together, a madrigal (a traditional, multi-part, vocal song) would be most appropriate.

Magpies are highly intelligent and evolved songbirds with rich social relationships. Vocalisations are a big part of how they negotiate their lives, and their songs are highly fluid and quite individual. The complex sonic elements they contain convey nuanced information to other family members close by, and simultaneously advertise their presence to neighbours who may be some way distant.  

This album begins with Magpies singing pleasantly among a symphony of spring morning birdsong. Then we travel to the outback, where Magpies are frequently heard singing quietly, as if to themselves, in the depths of night and into the pre-dawn. It is a quite beautiful and soothing sound.

Next, suburban Magpies call sweetly, along with Bellbirds and Rosellas, and then a family of Magpies are heard singing across a more rural landscape. We conclude with an additional track on this expanded edition; a dawn chorus of West Australian Magpies, which are a separate race with their own subtly unique repertoire.  

This recording is a celebration of Magpie song - A madrigal of Magpies indeed.

Audio sample of this album


Bushland with Magpies



Pre-dawn Magpie Carolling in the Outback



Suburban Magpies



Open Country Madrigals


This album on our blog

A Madrigal of Magpies

This audio sample features three excerpts from album tracks. The first minute or so is from a morning in bushland, and you can hear the Magpies’ typical daytime call, including some nice warb...

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Mp3 is a universal audio format, playable on iPods, computers, media players and mobile phones.

Mp3 is a compressed format, allowing smaller filesizes, offering faster download times and requiring less storage space on players, but at some expense to the audio quality. Many listeners can't really hear the difference between mp3 and full CD-quality audio, and hence its convenience has lead to it becoming the default option for audio.

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FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a LOSSLESS compressed audio format. This means that it preserves the full audio quality of a CD, but optimises the filesize for downloading. Typically, file sizes of around 60% are achieved without any degradation or loss of audio quality from the source files at the CD standard of 16bit/44.1kHz.

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There is a lot of information about flac online (eg: