Magpie - Pica pica
Picture ©2001 Pat O'Reilly
Fishing in Wales

Magpie - Pica pica

Grows to about 45cm (18in), a member of the crow family (Corvidae).  Wings relatively short and rounded, fast wing beats to compensate for the long trailed tail, alternated with glides.  Feeds on the ground as other members of the crow family, but sometimes will rob the nests of other birds, usually thrushes and finches taking eggs and young.  Builds a large roofed over nest of sticks to protect the eggs and young from predation.  Young have much shorter tail and less iridescence than adults.  Black head throat and neck, white chest, black wings with blue iridescence.  In flight wing feathers white on outer end with black edges and a green sheen to the tail.  Live as lifelong pairs or in non breeding flocks of about ten birds.  Sometimes roosts with other crow species.

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