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British Backyard Birds | Identification Guides


Unmistakeable, large, pied corvid with a very long tail. Back, head, and breast are dull black, while wings have a blue gloss. Large white shoulder patch, belly, and wingtips. Tail is glossed with green, blue, and purple. Juvenile is short-tailed at first but unmistakably a magpie. Often seen in small groups, as well as singularly, or in pairs. Widespread wings when flying on steady, quick beats, and closed-wing dives to the ground or perch. Loud, harsh chattering call.

Magpies are opportunistic feeders and will sometimes take the eggs and chicks of other birds. Divert their attention with kitchen scraps or even dog and cat food.

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