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Magpie Pica pica

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. It often lives near people, but always keeps a distance. The pirating of birds' nests is done in the early morning hours when people are still asleep. In the past farmers sometimes tamed magpies in the same way they tamed jackdaws. By the way: the animal in the bottom pictures is not a hybrid of a vulture and a magpie, but is a magpie in its moulting period. It is just waiting for the new feathers around the neck to appear.

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, nuts, eggs and young birds. The sexes do not differ from one another, except from the fact that the male has a slightly longer tail. Once together male and female stay together for the rest of their lives. The magpie 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.

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