(redirected from Magpies)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.


common name for certain birds of the family Corvidae (crows and jays). The black-billed magpie, Pica pica, of W North America has iridescent black plumage, white wing patches and abdomen, and a long wedge-shaped tail. It is altogether about 20 in. (50 cm) long. Magpies build large, domed nests in trees. Nest-building is part of courtship. The female alone incubates the eggs. Magpies destroy other birds' eggs and young, and kill sickly, wounded, or newborn sheep and cows by pecking. They are scavengers, but they also eat harmful insects as well as fruits, berries, and leaves. Their reputation for collecting small, bright objects may be undeserved. Noisy, chattering birds, in captivity they can be taught to imitate some words. The yellow-billed magpie is found in the valleys of California. The European magpie is closely related to the American; other species are found in Asia and Africa. The magpie-lark belongs to a different family, Grallinidae. Magpies are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Corvidae.



(Pica pica), a bird of the family Corvidae of the order Passeriformes. The magpie is 45–48 cm long and attains a weight of 250 g. The plumage is white and black, the latter with a strong green or dark blue gloss. The magpie is widely distributed in the Palearctic and northwestern Nearctic. In the USSR it is absent only in desert and tundra regions and in Yakutia and Magadan Oblast. The domed nest is placed in a tree or bush. A clutch contains four to six eggs; the incubation period is 17 days. The magpie wanders widely in winter. The diet consists of insects, small vertebrates, seeds, and carrion. A beneficial species, the magpie consumes injurious insects; on occasion, however, it robs the nests of small birds. Several long-tailed corvids of South Asia are also called magpies: for example, the green magpie (Cissa chinensis), the yellow-billed blue magpie (Urocissa flavirostris), and the azure-winged magpie (Cyanopica cyana).


1. any of various passerine birds of the genus Pica, esp P. pica, having a black-and-white plumage, long tail, and a chattering call: family Corvidae (crows, etc.)
2. any of various similar birds of the Australian family Cracticidae
3. any of various other similar or related birds
4. a variety of domestic fancy pigeon typically having black-and-white markings
a. the outmost ring but one on a target
b. a shot that hits this ring
References in periodicals archive ?
139 League points Benitez has collected as Magpies manager, with 94 picked up in the Championship and 45 in the Premier League.
There may have been a twoweek gap between matches, but Lascelles insists momentum is with the Magpies after the moraleboosting win over Man United.
With three wins and four draws too, the Magpies have collected 13 points - and conceded just eight times.
Over the last two years the magpies have appeared in my garden in February, biting off small branches from the weeping willow before flying off when I race out of the front door with a broom.
Wayne Rooney capitalised on a mistake fromKarl Darlowto prod Everton ahead in the 27th minute -- this was the former England captain's 15th goal against the Magpies -- and the home side rarely threatened to equalise.
Magpies were, until recently, one of the few species with a circumpolar distribution, found across the Northern Hemisphere.
FOR the first time in the UK, bird experts at Chester Zoo have bred a GREEN magpie - one of the most endangered species in the world.
At other times I've seen magpies attack fledgling blackbirds - they peck them in the eyes so the poor things can't defend themselves, then kill and eat them.
Pennine Magpies are very proud of all staff and students involved in the dance.
The researchers found that magpies on the campus of the Seoul National University also flew away at larger distances when humans were directly looking at them.
Unfortunately for the Magpies, the Panthers were in great shape going in to the game, coming off a bye going in to the decider.
However, the Cameroon international midfielder was not done and with seconds of normal time remaining, powered home a diving header to deny the Magpies a top-10 finish in front of a crowd of 51,678.