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Gardensafari - Magpie (Pica pica)


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ekster Magpie

The Magpie is one of the only two rather colourful representatives of the Crow family in our garden. The other one, the Jay, is colourful of it's own, the Magpie is especially colourful in the sunshine, when the black feathers radiate greenish and blueish colours, just like the Starlings. It has a bad reputation for destroying other birds' nests and eating both eggs and chicks. It's an intelligent bird that keeps away from people. The pirating of birds' nests is done in the early morning hours when people are still asleep. Like other Crows, such as the Jackdaw, Magpies steal glittering objects, even through open windows and hide them in their nest. In the past farmers sometimes tamed Magpies in the same way they tamed Jackdaws.

Your juwelry box is open? The window is open as well? There are magpies around? Then you better check if it is all still there!

This bird belongs to the family of Crows (Corvidae). It is an infrequent visitor to our garden and can be seen in Holland all year round. The bird is 21" and weighs 210 grams. It lives in rural areas, woodlands, parks and city edges mostly. It eats worms, snails, insects, seeds, eggs and young birds. The sexes do not differ from one another. It builds its nest in the branches of trees from march untill may. After laying some five to sometimes eight eggs, the breeding takes some 17 days. The young are fed in the nest for well over three weeks.


The Magpie is not among the best flying birds and usually flies over short distances only.

Name of this bird in various other languages
Dutch German French Polish Scientific
Ekster Elster Pie bavarde Sroka Pica pica

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