Magpie

Magpies are birds of the Corvidae (crow) family. The black and white Eurasian magpie is widely considered one of the most intelligent animals in the world[1][2][3] and one of only a few non-mammal species able to recognize itself in a mirror test.[4] In addition to other members of the genus Pica, corvids considered as magpies are in the genera Cissa.

Magpies of the genus Pica are generally found in temperate regions of Europe, Asia and western North America, with populations also present in Tibet and high elevation areas of India, i.e. Ladakh (Kargil and Leh) and Pakistan. Magpies of the genus Cyanopica are found in East Asia and also the Iberian peninsula. The birds called magpies in Australia are not related to the magpies in the rest of the world (see Australian magpie).

Magpie
Magpie arp
Eurasian magpie
Scientific classification
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Birds of Sweden 2016 35
Sitting magpie, Sweden 2016

Systematics and species

According to some studies, magpies do not form the monophyletic group they are traditionally believed to be—a long tail has certainly elongated (or shortened) independently in multiple lineages of corvid birds.[5] Among the traditional magpies, there appear to be two distinct lineages. One consists of Holarctic species with black/white colouration and is probably closely related to crows and Eurasian jays. The other contains several species from South to East Asia with vivid colouration which is predominantly green or blue. The azure-winged magpie and the Iberian magpie, formerly thought to constitute a single species with a most peculiar distribution, have been shown to be two distinct species and classified as the genus Cyanopica.[6]

Other research has cast doubt on the taxonomy of the Pica magpies, since it appears that P. hudsonia and P. nuttalli may not be different species, whereas the Korean race of P. pica is genetically very distinct from the other Eurasian (as well as the North American) forms. Either the North American, Korean, and remaining Eurasian forms are accepted as three or four separate species, or there exists only a single species, Pica pica.[7]

Holarctic (black-and-white) magpies

Oriental (blue/green) magpies

Azure-winged magpies

Other "magpies"

  • The black magpie, Platysmurus leucopterus, is a treepie; it is neither a magpie nor, as was long believed, a jay. Treepies are a distinct group of corvids externally similar to magpies.
  • The Australian magpie, Cracticus tibicen, is conspicuously “pied”, with black and white plumage reminiscent of a European magpie. It is a member of the family Artamidae and not a corvid.

In Asian culture

In East Asian culture, magpie is a very popular kind of bird. It is a symbol of good luck and good fortune.

Magpie is also a common subject in Chinese painting. It is also often found in traditional Chinese poetry and couplets.

In addition, in the folklore of China, all the magpies of the Qixi Festival every year will fly to the Tianhe River, set up a bridge, and the separation of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl will meet, so in the Chinese culture, the bridge often becomes a relationship between men and women.

The Korean magpie is a national bird and national symbol of Korea, sometimes referred to as Asian magpie or Chinese magpie.

Magpies have an important place in the birth myth of Ai Xinjue Luo Bukuri Yushun, the ancestor of the Qing Dynasty.

Gallery

References

  1. ^ "World's smartest birds - Welcome Wildlife". welcomewildlife.com. 3 January 2017.
  2. ^ Connor, Steve (19 August 2008). "Magpies reflect on a newly discovered intellectual prowess". The Independent.
  3. ^ "Eurasian Magpie: A True Bird Brain". britannica.com.
  4. ^ Prior H, et al. (2008). De Waal F (ed.). "Mirror-Induced Behavior in the Magpie (Pica pica): Evidence of Self-Recognition". PLoS Biology. Public Library of Science. 6 (8): e202. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060202. PMC 2517622. PMID 18715117. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  5. ^ Ericson et al. (2005)
  6. ^ Kyukov et al, Synchronic east–west divergence in azure-winged magpies (Cyanopica cyanus) and magpies (Pica pica), Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 42(4): 342-351 (2004)
  7. ^ Lee et al., 2003

Bibliography

Further reading

  • Song, S.; Zhang, R.; Alström, P.; Irestedt, M.; Cai, T.; Qu, Y.; Ericson, P.G.P.; Fjeldså, J.; Lei, F. (2017). "Complete taxon sampling of the avian genus Pica (magpies) reveals ancient relictual populations and synchronous Late-Pleistocene demographic expansion across the Northern Hemisphere". Journal of Avian Biology. doi:10.1111/jav.01612.

External links

Australian magpie

The Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) is a medium-sized black and white passerine bird native to Australia and southern New Guinea. Although once considered to be three separate species, it is now considered to be one, with nine recognised subspecies. A member of the Artamidae, the Australian magpie is placed in its own genus Gymnorhina and is most closely related to the black butcherbird (Melloria quoyi). It is not, however, closely related to the European magpie, which is a corvid.

The adult Australian magpie is a fairly robust bird ranging from 37 to 43 cm (14.5 to 17 in) in length, with distinctive black and white plumage, gold brown eyes and a solid wedge-shaped bluish-white and black bill. The male and female are similar in appearance, and can be distinguished by differences in back markings. The male has pure white feathers on the back of the head and the female has white blending to grey feathers on the back of the head. With its long legs, the Australian magpie walks rather than waddles or hops and spends much time on the ground.

Described as one of Australia's most accomplished songbirds, the Australian magpie has an array of complex vocalisations. It is omnivorous, with the bulk of its varied diet made up of invertebrates. It is generally sedentary and territorial throughout its range. Common and widespread, it has adapted well to human habitation and is a familiar bird of parks, gardens and farmland in Australia and New Guinea. This species is commonly fed by households around the country, but in spring a small minority of breeding magpies (almost always males) become aggressive and swoop and attack those who approach their nests.

Over 1000 Australian magpies were introduced into New Zealand from 1864 to 1874 but have subsequently been accused of displacing native birds and are now treated as a pest species. Introductions also occurred in the Solomon Islands and Fiji, where the birds are not considered an invasive species. The Australian magpie is the mascot of several Australian sporting teams, most notably the Collingwood Magpies, the Western Suburbs Magpies and Port Adelaide Magpies.

Azure-winged magpie

The azure-winged magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) is a bird in the crow family. It is 31–35 cm long and similar in overall shape to the Eurasian magpie (Pica pica) but is more slender with proportionately smaller legs and bill. It belongs to the genus Cyanopica.

It has a glossy black top to the head and a white throat. The underparts and the back are a light grey-fawn in colour with the wings and the feathers of the long (16–20 cm) tail an azure blue. It inhabits various types of coniferous (mainly pine) and broadleaf forest, including parks and gardens in the eastern populations.

Black-billed magpie

The black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia), also known as the American magpie, is a bird in the crow family that inhabits the western half of North America, from Colorado, to southern coastal Alaska, to Central Oregon, to northern California, northern Nevada, northern Arizona, northern New Mexico, central Kansas, and Nebraska. It is black and white, with black areas on the wings and tail showing iridescent hints of blue or blue-green. It is one of only four North American songbirds whose tail makes up half or more of the total body length (the others being the yellow-billed magpie, the scissor-tailed flycatcher, and the fork-tailed flycatcher).

This species prefers generally open habitats with clumps of trees. It can therefore be found in farmlands and suburban areas, where it comes into regular contact with people. Where persecuted it becomes very wary, but otherwise it is fairly tolerant of human presence. Historically associated with bison herds, it now lands on the back of cattle to clean ticks and insects from them. Large predators such as wolves are commonly followed by black-billed magpies, who scavenge from their kills. The species also walks on the ground, where it obtains such food items as beetles, grasshoppers, worms, and small rodents.

The black-billed magpie is one of the few North American birds that build a domed nest. This nest is made up of twigs and sits near the top of trees. Usually 6–7 eggs are laid. Incubation, by the female only, starts when the clutch is complete, and lasts 16–21 days. The nestling period is 3–4 weeks.

Black magpie

The black magpie (Platysmurus leucopterus) is a species of bird in the family Corvidae. Despite its name, it is neither a magpie nor, as was long believed, a jay, but a treepie. Treepies are a distinct group of corvids externally similar to magpies. It is monotypic within the genus Platysmurus.

Bornean green magpie

The Bornean green magpie (Cissa jefferyi) is a passerine bird in the crow family, Corvidae. It is endemic to montane forests on the southeast Asian island of Borneo. It was formerly included as a subspecies of the Javan green magpie, but under the common name Short-tailed Green Magpie. Uniquely among the green magpies, the Bornean green magpie has whitish eyes (dark reddish-brown in the other species).It dwells in thick vegetation in the mid and upper storeys of forests, and makes only short flights.The Bornean green magpie builds an open cup nest of sticks in the canopy. The Bornean green magpie has a rather harsh call; a reminder that they are passerine birds which belong to the crow family Corvidae.

Cissa (genus)

Cissa is a genus of relatively short-tailed magpies, though sometimes known as hunting cissas, that reside in the forests of tropical and subtropical southeast Asia and adjacent regions. The four species are quite similar with bright red bills, a mainly green plumage, black mask, and rufous wings. Due to excess exposure to sunlight (and, possibly, a low-carotenoid diet), they often appear rather turquoise (instead of green) in captivity. They are carnivorous, and mainly feed on arthropods and small vertebrates.

Corvidae

Corvidae is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers. In common English, they are known as the crow family, or, more technically, corvids. Over 120 species are described. The genus Corvus, including the jackdaws, crows, rooks, and ravens, makes up over a third of the entire family.

Corvids display remarkable intelligence for animals of their size and are among the most intelligent birds thus far studied. Specifically, members of the family have demonstrated self-awareness in mirror tests (European magpies) and tool-making ability (e.g., crows and rooks), skills which until recently were thought to be possessed only by humans and a few other higher mammals. Their total brain-to-body mass ratio is equal to that of non-human great apes and cetaceans, and only slightly lower than that of humans.They are medium to large in size, with strong feet and bills, rictal bristles, and a single moult each year (most passerines moult twice). Corvids are found worldwide except for the tip of South America and the polar ice caps. The majority of the species are found in tropical South and Central America, southern Asia and Eurasia, with fewer than 10 species each in Africa and Australasia. The genus Corvus has re-entered Australia in relatively recent geological prehistory, with five species and one subspecies there. Several species of raven have reached oceanic islands, and some of these species are now highly threatened with extinction or have already become extinct.

Eurasian magpie

The Eurasian magpie or common magpie (Pica pica) is a resident breeding bird throughout the northern part of the Eurasian continent. It is one of several birds in the crow family designated magpies, and belongs to the Holarctic radiation of "monochrome" magpies. In Europe, "magpie" is used by English speakers as a synonym for the European magpie: the only other magpie in Europe is the Iberian magpie (Cyanopica cooki), which is limited to the Iberian Peninsula.

The Eurasian magpie is one of the most intelligent birds, and it is believed to be one of the most intelligent of all non-human animals. The expansion of its nidopallium is approximately the same in its relative size as the brain of chimpanzees, orangutans and humans.

Jay

Jays are several species of medium-sized, usually colorful and noisy, passerine birds in the crow family, Corvidae. The names jay and magpie are somewhat interchangeable, and the evolutionary relationships are rather complex. For example, the Eurasian magpie seems more closely related to the Eurasian jay than to the East Asian blue and green magpies, whereas the blue jay is not closely related to either.

La gazza ladra

La gazza ladra (Italian pronunciation: [la ˈɡaddza ˈlaːdra], The Thieving Magpie) is a melodramma or opera semiseria in two acts by Gioachino Rossini, with a libretto by Giovanni Gherardini based on La pie voleuse by Théodore Baudouin d'Aubigny and Louis-Charles Caigniez.

The composer Gioachino Rossini wrote quickly, and La gazza ladra was no exception. According to legend, before the first performance of the opera, the producer assured the composition of the overture by locking Rossini in a room, from the window of which the composer threw out the sheets of music to the copyists who then wrote the orchestral parts, to complete the composition of the opera. As such, The Thieving Magpie is best known for the overture, which is musically notable for its use of snare drums. The unique inspiration in the melodies is extreme, famously used to bizarre and dramatic effect in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. It was referenced by Haruki Murakami in his work The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. This memorable section in Rossini's overture evokes the image of the opera's main subject: a devilishly clever, thieving magpie.

Magpie duck

The Magpie is a British breed of domestic duck. It has distinctive black and white markings reminiscent of the European magpie, and is a good layer of large eggs.:46

Magpie goose

The magpie goose (Anseranas semipalmata) is the sole living representative species of the family Anseranatidae. This common waterbird is found in northern Australia and southern New Guinea. As the species is prone to wandering, especially when not breeding, it is sometimes recorded outside its core range. The species was once also widespread in southern Australia, but disappeared from there largely due to the drainage of the wetlands where the birds once bred. Due to their importance to the local aboriginals as a seasonal food source, as subjects of recreational hunting, and as a tourist attraction, their expansive and stable presence in northern Australia has been "ensured protective management".

Nutcracker (bird)

The nutcrackers (Nucifraga) are a genus of three species of passerine bird, in the family Corvidae, related to the jays and crows.

The genus Nucifraga was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the spotted nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes) as the type species. The genus name is a New Latin translation of German Nussbrecher, "nut-breaker".

Oriental magpie

The Oriental magpie (Pica sericea) is a species of magpie found from south-eastern Russia and Myanmar to eastern China, Taiwan and northern Indochina. It is also a common symbol of the Korean identity, and has been adopted as the "official bird" of numerous South Korean cities, counties and provinces. Other names for the Oriental magpie include Korean magpie and Asian magpie.

Oriental magpie-robin

The oriental magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis) is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but now considered an Old World flycatcher. They are distinctive black and white birds with a long tail that is held upright as they forage on the ground or perch conspicuously. Occurring across most of the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia, they are common birds in urban gardens as well as forests. They are particularly well known for their songs and were once popular as cagebirds. The oriental magpie-robin is the national bird of Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka blue magpie

The Sri Lanka blue magpie or Ceylon magpie (Urocissa ornata) is a member of the crow family living in the hill forests of Sri Lanka, where it is endemic.

This is a species of a dense wet evergreen temperate rain forest. It is declining due to loss of this habitat. Sri Lanka Blue Magpie is usually found in small groups of up to six or seven birds. It is largely carnivorous, eating small frogs, lizards, insects and other invertebrates, but will eat fruit.

The cup-shaped stick nest is in a tree or shrub and there are usually 3–5 eggs laid. The eggs are white heavily spotted with brown. Both sexes build the nest and feed offspring with only the female incubating them.

The Sri Lanka blue magpie is about the same size as the European magpie at 42–47 cm. The adults have blue feathers with chestnut head and wings, and a long white-tipped tail. The legs and bill are red. The young bird is a duller version of the adult.

The Sri Lanka blue magpie has a variety of calls including mimicry, a loud chink-chink and a rasping krak-krak-krak-krak.

Taiwan blue magpie

The Taiwan blue magpie (Urocissa caerulea), also called the Taiwan magpie, Formosan blue magpie (Chinese: 臺灣藍鵲; pinyin: Táiwān lán què), or the "long-tailed mountain lady" (Chinese: 長尾山娘; pinyin: Chángwěi shānniáng; Taiwanese Hokkien: Tn̂g-boé soaⁿ-niû), is a species of bird of the crow family. It is endemic to Taiwan.

Treepie

The treepies comprise four closely related genera (Dendrocitta, Crypsirina, Temnurus and Platysmurus) of long-tailed passerine birds in the family Corvidae. There are 11 species of treepie. Treepies are similar to magpies. Most treepies are black, white, gray or brown. They are found in Southeast Asia. They live in tropical forests. They are highly arboreal and rarely come to the ground to feed.

Yellow-billed magpie

The yellow-billed magpie (Pica nutalli) is a large bird in the crow family that is restricted to the U.S. state of California. It inhabits the Central Valley and the adjacent chaparral foothills and mountains. Apart from its having a yellow bill and a yellow streak around the eye, it is virtually identical to the black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia) found in much of the rest of North America.

The scientific name commemorates the English naturalist Thomas Nuttall.

Extant species of family Corvidae

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