Magpies

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Magpie near a house door

Magpie Information

Magpies, which are in the same family as crows and ravens, are incredibly adaptive and intelligent creatures. These black and white birds aren’t afraid to take up residence around people, and they can be quite the nuisance for farmers and homeowners alike. Magpies won’t hesitate in their aggressive assault on fruit trees and gardens. Their tendency to forage for food in the ground can devastate a once-pristine yard, and the bird’s belligerent behavior is enough to drive away other, more preferred species. Magpies are also famously noisy, and their jarring calls can be incredibly obnoxious.

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What does a Magpie look like?

Magpies measure approximately 18 inches long, though half of that length due to their unusually long tail feathers. The birds are easily recognized by their black bills, striking black and white coloration, and short, rounded wings that show flashes of white as they fly. The feathers of their tails and wings are iridescent, reflecting hues from bronze-green to purple.

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What does a Magpie eat?

Omnivores with wide-ranging diets, magpies may eat wild fruit and grains, insects, carrion, and other birds’ eggs. They have even been known to forage in the ground or prey on small animals such as squirrels and snakes. Excess food is stored in various hiding places.

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Magpie habitats

Open fields, forest edges, along streams, in conifer trees, and on farms are all common places to find magpies. They avoid dense forests, grasslands, and desert extremes. Mated pairs work together to build their domed nests, which are two and a half feet high and almost two feet across. These structures can take more than a month to build.