The Magpie Pie (Pica Pica): The Talkative Black And White Bird



The magpie belongs to the corvidae family. Commonly called "magpie magpie" (Pica pica), it is widespread in Europe. There are 13 subspecies of magpies. It is a smart and very agile bird.

The magpie: the talkative black and white bird

How to recognize a magpie?

The magpie is a large-sized bird that can be recognized by its white plumage on the belly, on its flanks and on the base of its wings, while the rest of its body is black with green and metallic blue reflections on its wings and his tail. His powerful bill, his eyes and his legs are black too. The tail of the magpie is quite long, between 20 and 30 cm. The magpie is also recognizable by its progress: it makes great strides followed by small leaps.

Screaming and singing of the magpie

The magpie has a loud and loud cry. We often hear it chattering in our parks and gardens especially when magpies gather.

The magpie, perched in a tree

The habitat of the magpie

Originally, magpies live in agricultural or slightly wooded areas. But it tends to move to urban and peri-urban areas where pesticides, which destroy its food, are less present than in the countryside and where it is not hunted. Magpie finds refuge in large trees such as poplars, birches, pines or cedars, but also groves.

Feeding the magpie

The magpie is omnivorous. It feeds on insects, worms or slugs, as well as seeds or berries. The magpie also likes the rubbish of men like bread crumbs, eggs or fruits. Like the corvids of which it is part, if it does not find anything else, the magpie eats the remains of corpses of small animals crushed on the road for example. The magpie is also often perched on the backs of cows or sheep because it likes to feed on ticks present in the animals' coat. The magpie has the distinction of digging a hole in the ground to store food for 1 or 2 days.

Nest of magpies

Reproduction of the magpie

During the courtship display, in spring, the male offers food to the female. The magpie has only one brood per year of 4 to 9 eggs that it broods between 16 and 21 days in a nest made of twigs, mud, grass and hair. The male feeds it during the nesting period. The young leave the nest after 25 to 29 days but remain with the family until the fall.

Is magpie useful or harmful to the garden?

Poorly accepted and wrongly accused of many evils in rural areas, the magpie is classified as a pest that can be hunted. It is accused of plundering the reserves of young small game, small birds and mammals, while scientific studies have shown that it does not threaten these species. This is why the magpie frequents our gardens in the city, but, apart from her concerts of hoarse cries, she does not represent any nuisance for the plantations. It can even eliminate many harmful insects.


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