The Eurasian Magpie is 44-46 cm (17-18 in) long – in the adult over 50% of this is tail. The wingspan is 52-62 cm (20-24 in). Its head, neck and breast are glossy black with a metallic green and violet sheen; the belly and shoulder feathers 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.
Habitat and Distribution
The European Magpie is a resident breeding bird throughout Europe, much of Asia and northwest Africa. It is found in the North Indian Districts of Leh and Kargil in the Ladakh region.
The Magpie is omnivorous, eating young birds and eggs, insects, scraps and carrion, acorns, grain, and other vegetable substances.
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. Eggs are typically laid in April, five to eight is a normal clutch size. The eggs are blue-green with close specks and spots of brown and grey.
Calls and Songs