- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Corvidae
The Eurasian Magpie’s bold patterns and brash behavior make it one of Europe and Asia’s most instantly recognizable birds. In strong light, this black-and-white bird shimmers with exquisite metallic-blue wings and a long, glossy green tail. Almost always found near humans, magpies make their presence known by sashaying across lawns in search of food with their tail held high, calling loudly in response to predators, or sometimes raiding the nests of garden birds.More ID Info
- Urraca Común (Spanish)
- Pie bavarde (French)
- Cool Facts
- It’s easy to identify a magpie, but it’s hard to figure out how many magpie species there are. At one time or another, ornithologists have lumped all magpie species—including North America’s Black-billed Magpie and Yellow-billed Magpie—under the scientific name Pica pica. Currently, however, the two North American magpie species, as well as Maghreb Magpie of North Africa, Asir Magpie of Saudi Arabia, and Black-rumped Magpie and Oriental Magpie of Asia, are treated as distinct species from Eurasian Magpie.
- Most Eurasian Magpies are homebodies. A study in the United Kingdom found that young birds built their own first nests no more than 800 meters (0.5 mile) from the nest where they were raised. In Scandinavia, banded (or ringed) magpies almost always remain within 50 km (30 miles) of where the birds were first banded (ringed).
- When Eurasian Magpies do move farther afield, they seem reluctant to cross the open sea. Magpies departing southern Sweden for nearby Denmark—a mere 24 km (15 miles) away—have been observed turning around and returning to Sweden rather than continuing their journey.
- Like their crow and jay relatives, Eurasian Magpies are smart—some pairs perform early morning road checks to claim fresh carrion from overnight roadkills.