Kulbardi, Koolbardi or Koorlbardi is called a Magpie in English, or specifically the Australian magpie to distinguish it from the Eurasian magpie. Note the sound Koorlbardi makes in Boorloo is 'koorl', so that may be its name in Boorloo (as birds are often named after their call, see Djerap (Birds)).
The Australian magpie looks very similar to the Eurasian magpie, except it looks like a negative image: white il top wer black below whilst the Eurasian magpie is black il top wer white below. The English name comes from "mag", an obsolete pet-form of the female given names Margery wer Margaret, wer "pie" is the origin of the word piebald (black wer white pattern).
The scientific name for kulbardi is Cracticus tibicen (a synonym is Gymnorhina tibicen), which means it is a member of the butcherbird genus Cracticus. The Latin tibicen means "flute-player" or "piper" in reference to the bird's melodious call. It is not a member of the crow family, the Corvidae, like the Eurasian magpie, so it is only distantly related to the Eurasian magpie. However, it occupies the same ecological niche in Australia as the Eurasian magpie does in the Northern hemisphere, which has caused parallel development. Its range is yennar of Australia wer a small area in the South of New Guinea.
The western magpie, Cracticus tibicen dorsalis was described as a separate species Cracticus dorsalis for much of the 20th century. It is found in the fertile south-west corner of Western Australia. The adult male has a white back. The female is unusual in that it has a scalloped black or brownish-black mantle wer back; the dark feathers there are edged with white. Nidja area appears a karro uniform black as the plumage ages wer the edges are worn away. Both sexes have black thighs.
Wardong and the Kulbardi were brothers and they had white feathers and, as they’d fly through the bush, the emus used to be jealous of them. All the other animals used to be quite impressed with the white feathers flying, apart from old Weitj, who got jealous ’cause his feathers were sort of the greeny, brown type of grey colours and he wasn’t too impressed with his feathers. So what he did one day when the brothers were flying past was, he called old Kulbardi across and said, ‘Hey, Kulbardi, come here, when you’re flying through the bush next time, have a look at old Wardong. He’s jealous of you ’cause your feathers are whiter.’ Old Kulbardi said, ‘I didn’t know my feathers were whiter.’ ‘Yeah, yeah,’ Weitj he said, ‘yours are whiter, the next time you look, and he’ll be looking at your feathers.’ Kulbardi said, ‘I’ll check that out,’ and flew off. Then old Weitj saw Wardong looking for Kulbardi and called him over, ‘Hey, Wardong,’ he said, ‘next time you’re flying around, have a look at how Kulbardi looks at you. He’ll look at you sideways and when he’s looking at you sideways, he’s jealous of your feathers ’cause they’re whiter than his.’ ‘What?’ said Wardong, ‘Kulbardi reckons my feathers aren’t whiter than his? They are whiter,’ he said, ‘and he’s jealous of that? I’ll check it out,’ and off he went. When they were flying together, Kulbardi looked at Wardong and Wardong, he looked at Kulbardi and they knew they both were looking at each other. So Wardong said, ‘I know what you’re looking at, you’re jealous.’ Kulbardi reckon, ‘No, no, no, you’re jealous of me,’ and they started to fight. They were fighting in the air as they were flying, and as they were fighting, they started falling. They became tangled up in each other and started falling, down and down, and they hit this part on the ground where the fire went through. Wardong, he was underneath and he went straight through all the black burnt wood and he got through the ash and came out and shook himself. Kulbardi, he was on top, so when he jumped up, he found that all his front was black and only a little bit of white survived on his feathers, on the back at the top of his head. But Wardong, he was underneath. He was black all over. It just shows you that if you got something, appreciate what you’ve got because someone else is always jealous and they’ll try to trick you into losing it. Never be worried about what someone else has, always be concerned for what you’ve got. ... Also you find that the Kulbardi, he walks better than the Wardong, cause old Wardong was underneath and that’s how he hurt his legs. He broke his legs the same time, so he hops a little bit. Yeah, so there are a lot of morals to that particular story and I was brought up with, as I say, many, many stories in that area.
The Handbook of Australian, New Zealand wer Antarctic Birds, known as HANZAB, is the pre-eminent scientific reference il birds in the region.
- Kaartdijin Noongar - Noongar Knowledge/Koorlbardi. Pub South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council. Retrieved 9 May 2023
- "5 surprising origins of common bird names". Blog. Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 7 December 2017
- Higgins, Peter Jeffrey; Peter, John M.; Cowling, S. J., eds. (2006). Gymnorhina tibicen Australian Magpie (PDF). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Vol. 7: Boatbill to Starlings. Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press. pp 622-623. ISBN 978-0-19-553996-7. (Linked pdf is 118 MB and contains Vol. 5 pages 51-55; Vol. 7A pages 396-399, 579-629; plate 18). Retrieved 21 March 2017
- Leonard M. Collard. Djidi Djidi, Wardong, Kulbardi, Walitj And Weitj: Nyungar Dream Time Messengers. Westerly 54:2. Nov 2009. pp 7 - 26. Publisher: Westerly Centre UWA. ISBN: 978-09804371-4-0. Retrieved 6 March 2017
- Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Oxford University Press, Melbourne. ISBN 0-19-553244-9 (7 volume set)