magpie(redirected from bell magpies)
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(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).