Eurasian magpie

Pica pica

The Eurasian magpie, European magpie, or common magpie is a resident breeding bird throughout Europe, much of Asia and northwest Africa. It is one of several birds in the crow family named as magpies, and belongs to the Holarctic radiation of "monochrome" magpies. In Europe, "magpie" is used by English speakers as a synonym for the European magpie; it is the only magpie in Europe outside the Iberian Peninsula.

The Eurasian magpie is one of the most intelligent birds, and it is believed to be one of the most intelligent of all animals. The expansion of its nidopallium is approximately the same in its relative size as is found in chimpanzees, orangutans and humans.
Eurasian magpie, France  Eurasian magpie,France,Geotagged,Pica pica,Spring

Appearance

The Eurasian magpie is 44–46 centimetres in length—in the adult over 50% of this is tail—and a wingspan of 52–62 centimetres . Its head, neck and breast are glossy black with a metallic green and violet sheen; the belly and scapulars are pure white; the wings are black glossed with green or purple, and the primaries have white inner webs, conspicuous when the wing is open. The graduated tail is black, shot with bronze-green and other iridescent colours. The legs and bill are black.

The young resemble the adults, but are at first without much of the gloss on the sooty plumage. The male is slightly larger than the female.
Eurasian magpie - Pica pica Eurasian magpie
Pica pica Eurasian magpie,France,Geotagged,Pica pica,Spring

Naming

The common name comes from ''magot pie'' , first found in Shakespeare's Macbeth. The scientific name ''Pica'' is just the Latin word for magpie. When Linnaeus first described this species in 1758, he named it ''Corvus pica''.
European Magpie (Pica Pica) The European Magpie is believed to be among the most intelligent of birds, and among the most intelligent of all animals. Magpies have been observed engaging in elaborate social rituals,  tool use, ability to hide and store food across seasons, episodic-like memory, and the ability to use one's own experience in predicting the behavior of conspecifics.
 In captivity magpies have been observed counting up to get food, imitating human voices, and regularly using tools to clean their own cages.
(source: wikipedia) Birds,Closeup,European Magpie,Geotagged,Pica Pica,The Netherlands,crow

Behavior

The Eurasian magpie is a distinctive species with pied plumage, long 20–30 centimetres graduated tail, and loud chatter. When passing in open country they rapidly move their wings and chatter. Upon landing the long tail is elevated and carefully carried clear off the ground.

Like other corvids such as crows, the magpie usually walks, but can also hop quickly sideways with wings slightly opened.

The magpie is omnivorous, eating young birds and eggs, insects, scraps and carrion, acorns, grain, and other vegetable substances.



Magpies are common in suburban areas but tend toward shyness and caution in the country. They only avoid humans when harassed.


In winter, magpies often form groups, feeding and roosting at night.
Curious magpie Common magpie - Pica pica Bulgaria,Common Magpie,Eurasian magpie,European Magpie,European magpie,Geotagged,Pica pica,Spring,aves,birds,corvidae,nature,pica pica

Habitat

The Eurasian magpie is a distinctive species with pied plumage, long 20–30 centimetres graduated tail, and loud chatter. When passing in open country they rapidly move their wings and chatter. Upon landing the long tail is elevated and carefully carried clear off the ground.

Like other corvids such as crows, the magpie usually walks, but can also hop quickly sideways with wings slightly opened.

The magpie is omnivorous, eating young birds and eggs, insects, scraps and carrion, acorns, grain, and other vegetable substances.



Magpies are common in suburban areas but tend toward shyness and caution in the country. They only avoid humans when harassed.


In winter, magpies often form groups, feeding and roosting at night.
Magpie Plumage  Bulgaria,Geotagged,Magpie,Pica pica,birds,corvidae,eurasian magpie,european magpie,passerine,pica pica,plumage

Reproduction

Magpies are territorial and stay in their own all year, even in the north of the species range. The pairs are monogamous and remain together for life, finding new partners from the stock of yearlings if one is lost.

Mating takes place in spring. In the courtship display males rapidly raise and depress their head feathers, uplift, open and close their tails like fans, and call in soft tones quite distinct from their usual chatter. The loose feathers of the flanks are brought over the primaries, and the shoulder patch is spread so the white is conspicuous, presumably to attract females. Short buoyant flights and chases follow.


Magpies prefer tall trees for their bulky nest, firmly attaching them to a central fork in the upper branches. A framework of the sticks is cemented with earth and clay, and a lining of the same is covered with fine roots. Above is a stout though loosely built dome of prickly branches with a single well-concealed entrance. These huge nests are conspicuous when the leaves fall. Where trees are scarce, though even in well-wooded country, nests are at times built in bushes and hedgerows.

Eggs are typically laid in April, five to eight is normal though as many as ten have been recorded. Small for the size of the bird, they are typically blue-green with close specks and spots of brown and grey, but show much variation in ground and marking. Only one brood is reared unless disaster overtakes the first clutch.

References:

Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.