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Eurasian Magpie, Sweden 2016
Scientific classification

Magpies are birds in the crow family, Corvidae. They are general scavengers and predators of insects, small mammals, and other birds' eggs and young.

The word "magpie" usually means the European magpie (Pica pica), which is a very common bird, found all over Europe. Elsewhere, there are other species of magpie. Most are black and white and are in the genus Pica.

Other birds called "magpie"[change | change source]

There are other species of bird that are called 'magpies', though they are not true magpies. Oriental "magpies" are green and blue in colour, and are in the genera Urocissa and Cissa. There is also one blue and white magpie, the azure-winged magpie Cyanopica cyana. There is the black magpie, which is really a treepie. There is also the Australian magpie. It is not a member of the crow family at all. It is in the Artamidae family. All these are in different genera from Pica. This is a good example of the confusion caused by common names before the Linnaean system came into use.

Description[change | change source]

Magpies are large birds. They often have long tails. Magpies eat lots of different kinds of food. They may eat baby birds, eggs and carrion. They may also eat seeds and other parts of plants.

Magpies are clever birds. They can pass the mirror test. This is when the bird sees itself in a mirror and understands that it is a reflection. Magpies do not have any attraction to bright, shiny things, contrary to popular belief.

Related pages[change | change source]

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