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Magpie Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
Scientific Name:
The name of the animal in science
Pica Pica
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
Size (L):
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
40cm - 46cm (16in - 18in)
The measurement from one wing tip to the other
52cm - 60cm (20in - 24in)
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
200g - 250g (7oz - 9oz)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
32km/h (20mph)
How long the animal lives for
8 - 15 years
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Black, White
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
Open woodland, grasslands and savannas
Average Clutch Size:
The average number of eggs laid at once
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Fruit, Nuts, Seeds, Insects
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Foxes, Cats, Coyote
Distinctive Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Black and white markings and long wedge-shaped tail

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Magpie Location

Map of Magpie Locations


The magpie is a small to medium sized bird that is found across the globe. The magpie is most closely related to the crow, but the magpie has highly distinguishable black and white feathers which make magpies easy to spot.

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 to 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 it has found and collect them in its 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.

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First Published: 19th November 2008, Last Updated: 8th November 2019

1. Christopher Perrins, Oxford University Press (2009) The Encyclopedia Of Birds [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
2. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 19 Nov 2008]
3. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
4. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 19 Nov 2008]
5. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
6. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 19 Nov 2008]