Oriental magpie

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Oriental magpie
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Pica sericea
Dark red/orange/brown-grey: Oriental magpie range

The Oriental magpie (Pica sericea) is a species of magpie found in East Asia.[1] It is a common symbol of Korea, and has been adopted as the "official bird" of many South Korean cities and counties.

It is similar to the Eurasian magpie, with a shorter tail and longer wings. It has black and purple colors, but very little green. The Oriental magpie has the same chattering call as Eurasian magpies, though it is much softer.

Magpie myths[change | change source]

Koreans believed that magpies delivered good news, and when they saw a magpie chattering, they believed that visitors were coming.[2]The most famous painting related to a magpie is the one with striped tiger (ggach'i wha horangi minhwa, Hangul: 까치와 호랑이 민화): the magpie is chirping to a tiger. The magpie represented good news and the tiger symbolized good luck, since its pronunciation in Chinese sounds similar to good luck (bok). There are many folktales about magpies.

The Chinese called magpies "Birds of Joy" or "Happy Magpies". Under the Manchu dynasty it also represented imperial rule: a few Manchu people in Northeast China even thought they were gods.[2] In the west, though, magpies were often a symbol of pride.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Answers - the Most Trusted Place for Answering Life's Questions". Answers.com.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Magpie in Nature & Myth". Archived from the original on 2010-01-15. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
  3. J. C. Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols (1978), p. 102