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common name for certain birds of the family Corvidae (crows and jays). The black-billed magpie, Pica pica or P. hudsonia, 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, P. nuttali, is found in the valleys of California. The European magpie, P. pica, is closely related to the American; other species, many of which are not predominantly black and white, are found in Asia and Africa. The Australian magpie, magpie-lark, and magpie shrike belong to a different families, Artamidae, Monarchidae, and Laniidae, respectively. 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.
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, 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 ?
THE local magpies have already started lopping off twigs from my weeping willow.
In other words even if the magpies did not perceive the humans as dangerous they still took the decision faster (in this case decision to stay and continue foraging) when the humans were looking at them.
Country: , GermanySector: Advertising/PR, IT/Online ServicesTarget: The Magpie Twitter advertising networkBuyer: Izea Holdings IncType: Corporate acquisitionFinancing: Cash & StockStatus: Agreed
The Magpie network includes more than 12,000 advertisers and 16,000 Twitter publishers in 124 countries and the company's advertising clients have included Burger King, Heineken, PlayStation and Audi.
Executed in collage, this is a most attractively colourful picture book, each illustration dazzling in a way to lure any magpie.
Since 2007, three Citizen Science projects have been conducted across the South Australian community and schools by the University of South Australia and ABC Local Radio: Operation Bluetongue (2007), Operation Possum (2008) and Operation Magpie (2009).
My garden magpie was gathering fallen twigs on the lawn, which would have been used to make the initial bulky cup of sticks.
The magpie pica pica, belonging to the family corvidae along with other members of the crow family, has carnivorous tendencies.
Magpie can ease the strain on corporate development and project management resources and help accelerate time to market by delivering high-quality software components.
The name Muscat Magpies draws its inspiration from one of the worldAAEs most popular Australian rules football clubs, Collingwood Football Club.
The cheeky magpie was taken in by the Quality of Life Animal Sanctuary in Holsworthy, Devon, when he was found abandoned as a chick two years ago.
We studied the European magpie or common magpie (Pica pica) because this species is territorial and abundant in both wet and dry areas.