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A member of the Corvidae family, a magpie, is recognized for its rowdy blabbering, black and white plumage that takes on an altogether more vibrant hue with a purplish-blue iridescent shine to the wing feathers and long tail with a green gloss. Tagged as the jack of all trades – scavengers, predators, and pest-destroyers – magpies are seen in a range of habitats, from lowland farmland to upland moors.
See the fact file below for more information on the Magpie or alternatively, you can download our 28-page Magpie worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Documents from the Old English or Anglo-Saxon era label the bird a “pie,” which originated from Latin pica; this word has turned obsolete.
- During the last centuries, birds were given common names, such as robin redbreast, which is now known as the robin, jenny wren, etc. The magpie was initially variously maggie pie and magpie.
- The word “pica” for some pregnant woman’s craving for non-food is associated with the impulse of the magpie (Pica pica) to consume miscellaneous things.
Systematics and Species
- According to research, magpies do not establish the monophyletic group they are originally believed to be in; tails have lengthened or shortened depending on the multiple lineages of corvid birds.
- Among the traditional magpies, two unique lineages exist. One houses Holarctic species with black and white coloration, and is probably linked to crows and Eurasian jays. The second strain has different species from South to East Asia with intense coloration, which is predominantly green or blue.
- The azure-winged magpie and the Iberian magpie, originally thought to include a single species with a most odd distribution, have been identified to be two different birds and are grouped under the genus Cyanopica.
- Other studies doubted the classification of the Pica magpies since P. hudsonia and P. nuttalli may not be two distinct species, whereas the Korean race of P. pica is genetically very different from the other Eurasian forms.
- Holarctic magpies house a single genus, Pica, which includes seven species: (1) Eurasian magpie (Pica pica), (2) Black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia), (3) Yellow-billed magpie (Pica nuttalli), (4) Asir magpie (Pica asirensis), (5) Maghreb magpie (Pica mauritanica), (6) Korean magpie (Pica sericea), and (7) Black-rumped magpie (Pica bottenensis).
- The Oriental magpies have two genus, Urocissa, which includes five species: (1) Taiwan blue magpie (Urocissa caerulea), (2) Red-billed blue magpie (Urocissa erythrorhyncha), (3) Yellow-billed blue magpie (Urocissa flavirostris), (4) White-winged magpie (Urocissa whiteheadi), and (5) Sri Lanka blue magpie (Urocissa ornata); and Cissa, which has four species: (1) Common green magpie (Cissa chinensis), (2) Indochinese green magpie (Cissa hypoleuca), (3) Javan green magpie (Cissa thalassina), and (4) Bornean green magpie (Cissa jefferyi).
- The genus Cyanopica, of the Azure-winged magpies, has two species: (1) Azure-winged magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) and (2) Iberian magpie (Cyanopica cooki).
- The black magpie, Platysmurus leucopterus, is considered a treepie. It is neither a magpie nor as was long assumed, a jay. Treepies are unique groups of corvids that display external features that are similar to magpies.
- The Australian magpie, Cracticus tibicen, is clearly “pied,” sporting a black and white plumage similar to the Eurasian magpie. However, it is a member of the Artamidae family and not part of the corvid group.
- The magpie-robins, members of the genus Copsychus, have the same “pied” look, but they are Old World flycatchers that are not associated with the corvids.
Diet and Breeding
- Magpies feed on several food types, and they are very opportunistic in their feeding habits. They mainly consume invertebrates, fruits, seeds, small vertebrates, carrion, refuse, and scrapes. These corvids will often snatch eggs and the young of small birds.
- They build their large conical nests atop trees, both coniferous and deciduous, in woodlands of countrysides and urban areas.
- They feed in a number of situations, including pastures and cereals in farmland, parks, and gardens in urban areas. They also visit bird tables and water slides.
- Magpies settle in places with high densities, and only on regions of the west coast are they less numerous.
- In East Asia, the magpie is a well-known bird, thought to be an emblem of good luck and good fortune. It is also among the common subjects of Chinese paintings and is sometimes mentioned in traditional Chinese poetry and couplets. In Chinese folklore, all the magpies of the annual Qixi Festival will fly to the Tianhe River and set up on a bridge, where the separated Cowherd and Weaver Girl will reunite so that the bridge has come to represent the relationship of men and women. The magpie has also been depicted in the birth myth of Ai Xinjue Luo Bukuri Yushun, the ancestor of the Qing dynasty. The Korean magpie, sometimes called the Asian magpie or Chinese magpie is considered the national bird of Korea.
- Magpies are also widespread in the northern areas of Pakistan, particularly in Baltistan. The common name of these corvids in this region is khaa-strap.
- Magpies also fly across most of the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. These corvids are common birds in urban gardens and forests.
- In Europe, the magpie is notorious for collecting shiny things, often, in fiction, objects like wedding rings and other valuable or significant items, which often leads to distress at lost things and false accusations of humans in the story. The most famous example is in Rossini’s opera La Grazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie). Recent studies defied the legend – magpies, like other animals, are actually bothered by shiny, blue, or otherwise peculiar objects.
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about the Magpie across 28 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Magpie which is a member of the Corvidae family, a magpie, is recognized for its rowdy blabbering, black and white plumage that takes on an altogether more vibrant hue with a purplish-blue iridescent shine to the wing feathers and long tail with a green gloss.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Magpie Facts
- Meet a Magpie
- Magpie Milestones
- Magpie or Not
- Two Black Birds
- Black-billed Anatomy
- Ask Yourself
- 4 Pics 1 Bird
- Find the Words
- Magpie Species
- Inside a Magpie’s Mind
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Link will appear as Magpie Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 23, 2021
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.