Bird of Interest 12 – Magpie

The Magpie (Pica pica), is a familiar and unmistakable black and white, long-tailed bird. Their nests are large, twiggy and long-lasting structures, usually built among dense tree branches. The Magpie is an opportunistic omnivore, its diet including fruit, insects, roadkill and the eggs/young of small birds. The sexes are similar.

The adults have mainly black plumage with a contrasting white belly and a white patch on the closed wing. At close range, and in good light, a blueish-green sheen can be seen on the wings and tail.


The Magpie is a widespread resident in the UK, although scare in northern districts. The species is found in a wide variety of wooded and lightly wooded habitats, the common requirements being a wide range of potential food sources to suit its omnivorous diet, and several hundred thousand pairs breed in the UK as a whole.

Reference List:

  • Sterry.P., (2004) Collins Complete Guide to British Birds. Harper Collins Publishing Ltd, London.

About Thomas Whitlock

I'm a third student at the University of Reading, currently studied for a degree in Zoology. I have a wide interest in biodiversity, most notably British wildlife. I have an especial interest in British mammals and birds. I hope to become a wildlife cameraman or photographer after I graduate, and I feel that blogging will be a key component of any future job in Zoology. This is my first blog, so please be kind!
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