Han van de Graaf Mijn site voor jou . . . My site for you . . .
Pie bavarde [French]
Pica pica (Linnaeus, 1758)
Description. 46 cm. In Europe, "magpie" is often used by English speakers as a synonym for the European Magpie, as there are no other magpies in Europe outside Iberia. That bird was referred to as a "pie" until the late 16th century when the feminine name "mag" was added to the beginning.
Magpies are believed to be one of the most intelligent of all animals: the European Magpie is one of the few animal species known to be able to recognize itself in a mirror test.
From a distance the Magpie is a black and white crow with a long tail. The tail accounts for over half the total length of the bird and is an indication of the bird's status in its society.
The head, breast and back are black, the shoulders patches, belly and flanks are white. The black wings and tail, however, are a beautiful glossy, iridescent blue, green and purple. The bill and legs are black.
Juvenile Magpies have much shorter tails than their parents, the white of the plumage is dirtier, and the black is less glossy.
Breeding. Both birds build the large nest, which can take several weeks to complete, from small branches and twigs, and line it with mud and vegetation. The nest is usually in a large tree (but sometimes in pylons) and domed to prevent predation by other crows, but some birds do not bother.
Food. They have quite a varied diet in their original rural habitat - insects, rodents, carrion, eggs and nestlings, grain, berries and fruit.
This variety carries over into the suburban garden where they will also eat allsorts of kitchen scraps and bird foods.