There are thought to be around 15 different species of magpie spread across Europe, Asia and parts of Australia and Africa. The magpie is generally around 50 cm long with a slightly larger wingspan, although the exact size of the magpie is dependent on the magpie species.
In China and Korea, the magpie is seen as a symbol of good luck and good fortune. In the United Kingdom however, one magpie is said top be bad luck and seeing two is good luck (one for sorrow, two for joy).
The European magpie also has the notorious reputation for taking and stashing shiny objects. It has been known for magpies to be attracted to ladies jewellery, along with plastics and even the windscreen wipers from cars. The magpie will often take the wonderful objects is has found and collect them in it's nest.
Magpies mate for life and mating partners are usually together for their entire lives. Magpies mate in the spring time when the weather begins to get warmer and build large nests in the trees. The female magpie lays up to 8 eggs (usually around 5), which are a surprisingly small size in comparison to the size of the magpie itself. The magpie chicks hatch out of their eggs after an incubation period of around 3 weeks, and the magpie chicks are normally able to fly when they are between 3 and 4 weeks old.
Magpies are noted to be highly intelligent birds and are often able to sense approaching danger relatively quickly. Magpies are known to be dominant and curious birds but are relatively secretive when they feel they are in danger. Magpies are also known to mimic the calls of other birds and have fully taken advantage of new food sources created by the presence of humans.
Despite their large wings, magpies are not particularly keen on long flights and tend to stay close to cover. Magpies hide in trees and thick bushes to hide from predators and to catch their prey.
Magpies are omnivorous birds and eat a range of fruits, nuts, seeds, insects, eggs and small mammals and reptiles. Magpies have a number of predators within their natural environment including dogs, foxes and cats.