Magpie Facts

Magpies are intelligent birds of the Corvidae family and are found in temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and western North America. They are also found in Tibet and the high-elevation areas of Kashmir.

Magpies live in 

  • Grasslands
  • Meadows
  • Edges of dense forests

They eat insects, nuts, berries, and small rodents. They build large nests, often with two entrances. Magpies make all kinds of sounds, including chirps, squeals, warbles, whistles, and other noises. Magpies live in flocks or murders.

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Magpie Facts for Kids

  • Magpies are omnivore
  • They eat insects, nuts, berries, and small rodents
  • Magpies are very intelligent birds
  • They can live between 25 and 30 years
  • They have a pointed beak, short, rounded wings, and a long, wedge-shaped tail

Types of Magpies

Eurasian Magpie

The Eurasian magpie is a bird in the crow family and belongs to the Holarctic radiation of “monochrome” magpies.

The male of the nominate subspecies, P. pica, is 44 – 46 cm (17 – 18 in) in length, with a wingspan of 52 – 62 cm (20 – 24 in). It has a glossy black head, neck, and breast, pure white belly and scapulars, and black wings with green or purple gloss.

Eurasian magpies undergo an annual complete molt after breeding in which their flight feathers are replaced over a period of three months. They have a well-known call and can emit a hiss barely noticeable from afar.

Black-billed magpie

The black-billed magpie is a bird in the Corvidae family that is found in western North America. It is black and white with blue-green iridescent hints on its wings and tail.

They prefer open habitats with clumps of trees and are tolerant of human presence. It lands on the backs of cattle to clean ticks and insects from them.

They build a domed nest of twigs and eggs, which are incubated by the female for 16 – 21 days.

Taiwan blue magpie

The Taiwan blue magpie is a species of bird in the genus Urocissa.

The male and female are similar, but the female has a black head, neck and breast, yellow eyes, a red bill and feet, and black wings and tail.

They eat snakes, rodents, small insects, carrion, eggs, fruits, and seeds. They also store the food waste of humans.

Red-billed blue magpie

The red-billed blue magpie is found in the western Himalayas, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, central and eastern China, and southwest Manchuria. It nests in trees and large shrubs.

The head, neck, and breast are black with a bluish spotting on the crown. Their shoulders and rump are a much duller blue, and the underparts are greyish cream.

Red-billed blue magpie takes food from trees and the ground and makes a high-pitched whistle and a grating rattle.

Oriental magpie

The Oriental magpie is a bird found in Asia, including Korea. It is the official bird of several South Korean cities.

The Oriental Magpie is stockier than the Eurasian magpie and has a shorter tail and longer wings. Its plumage is mostly black.

In Korea, the magpie is celebrated as a bird of good fortune. Children were taught to throw their lost teeth on the roof and sing for the magpie.

Azure-winged magpie

A glossy blacktop to the head, white throat, light grey-fawn underparts, and a blue tail.

They feed on acorns and pine nuts and also on invertebrates and their larvae, soft fruits and berries, and human scraps.

Azure-winged magpies usually nest in loose, open colonies with a single nest in each tree.

What do magpies look like?

Black-billed magpies have black and white feathers. Additionally, its wings glow blue/green. Eurasian magpies resemble Black-billed magpies.

Australian magpies have black and white feathers too. In contrast, it has white feathers on the back of its neck. It also has a black and white bill.

What do magpies eat?

Magpies eat both plants and animals since they’re omnivores. They eat whatever is available in their environment. 

They eat grasshoppers, nuts, berries, beetles, caterpillars, and even small rodents.

Other bird nests are sometimes raided by these birds for eggs and chicks. This makes them nest predators.

They also steal meat from other animals killed by predators.

Magpie Predators

Magpies are preyed upon by domestic cats, dogs, foxes, and owls. Raccoons, hawks, weasels, and mink can also steal eggs and chicks from their nest.

A magpie won’t shy away from humans or residential areas. It is even possible that they will try eating from bird feeders. This exposes them to dogs and cats in the neighborhood.

How do magpies build their nests?

Magpies are known to be one of the smartest birds in the world. Not only are they able to mimic human speech, but they’re also very intelligent when it comes to building their nests.

They typically build their nests in trees, utility poles, and abandoned buildings, but they can also be found in open woodlands, riparian thickets, farm fields, and suburban areas.

Breeding pairs of black-billed magpies build domed nests, which are typically about 30 inches high and 20 inches wide but can vary in size. 

Sticks are gathered by the male. The female forms a mud cup in the interior and lines the inside of the nest with grass.

How do magpies care for their young?

Magpies are typically monogamous birds, with a partner bonding over the season to provide care for their young.

Magpies breed between the ages of two and three. Large nests are built in tall trees or thorny bushes.

The breeding season is April. The female lays between three and six greenish-blue eggs and incubates them for 18 to 19 days. 

The male feeds her during this period. Magpie parents hunt and bring food back to their chicks. They also protect their offspring from predators, teaching them how to hunt and fly.

What is the lifespan of a magpie?

Magpies typically live for  8 to 15 years., but the oldest recorded bird was 21 years of age. 

What kinds of sounds do magpies make?

Magpies are known for their beautiful songs. In fact, they learn and recognize the songs of other magpies! Magpies also have a wide variety of calls that they use to communicate with each other.

These calls can be used to warn others of danger, find food, or attract mates.

Magpies make a lot of different sounds! One common sound is the ‘chatter call.’ This call is usually used by magpies when they are warning others of danger.

They may also make a ‘scolding call’ when they see someone doing something bad, like stealing food. Magpies can also produce a range of whistles, chirps, and warbles to communicate with each other.

Where do magpies live?

They can be found in many different areas around the world. They live in open fields, near livestock and barnyards, and even near human development. One place you won’t find them is in the rainforest!

Magpies are typically found living on open ground like meadows and prairies. This allows them to have an easy escape if they need it, as well as plenty of food options.

What is the magpie’s place in mythology and folklore?

Magpies have long been a part of mythology and folklore in many cultures. In some cases, they are considered to be bringers of good luck, while in others, they are seen as omens of bad news. Magpies are also often associated with children, who see them as playful creatures that enjoy shiny objects.

Some people believe that magpies build their nests in different places each time, but this has not been proven. 

What are some fun facts about magpies?

Magpies are interesting creatures, and there are many fun facts about them that you may not know. For example, did you know that they are now common in urban areas?

This is because they have learned to adapt to the changing environment. In addition, magpies have a three-toed forward foot and one backward foot, giving them the “jerky” walking motion.

They live year-round in Britain except for Scotland, where they migrate during the winter months.

Another interesting fact about magpies is that they are considered songbirds. Their songs vary from place to place and even change over time. Magpie chicks learn their songs from their fathers and can sing complex tunes shortly after hatching!