The Magpie is a member of the Crow Family. It can be found throughout the country in a variety of places such as farmlands, moors, fields, towns, cities and gardens. It is often seen in pairs or groups, although sometimes a Magpie can be seen on its own. The name ‘Magpie’ originates from an old word ‘pied’ which just meant ‘black and white’ in the fourteenth century, but nowadays ‘pied’ means ‘patches of different colours’.
The Magpie is a relatively large black and white bird with a wingspan of around ninety centimetres. Sometimes the Magpie’s black feathers look like they have greenish or purplish blue sheen to them, especially in strong light. It has a strong-looking black beak and two black eyes. The top part of its head is quite flat and its black wedge-shaped tail is longer than the length of its body.
Magpies eat fruit, berries, insects, mice, voles, young birds and eggs from nests. They often eat dead animals that have been killed on the road and sometimes they can be seen on the backs of sheep taking out parasites. They are also known for stealing bright objects or clothes pegs in gardens which they take to their nests.