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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Jouko Lehmuskallio, M. & W. von Wright (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Magpie

Pica pica

  • Name also: Common Magpie, Black-billed Magpie
  • Family: Crows – Corvidae
  • Appearance: Long-tailed black and white crows, probably among the most familiar birds in Finland.
  • Size: Length 40–51 cm, wingspan 52–60 cm, weight 175–295 g.
  • Nest: In a tree, mainly made of twigs, ball-shaped with a roof. Nest bowl made of clay and lined with root fibres and grass.
  • Breeding: 1–10 eggs laid in April–May, incubated by female for 17–22 days. Fledglings remain in nest for 22–35 days.
  • Distribution: Breeds in farmland and around settlements of all sizes throughout Finland, total breeding population estimated at 150,000–200,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Sedentary.
  • Diet: Omnivorous.
  • Calls: Rattling call, reminiscent of laughter. Soft twittering song only seldom heard.
  • Endangerment: Near threatened, unprotected most part of the year.

Magpies have black heads, backs and chests. Their primary wing feathers are mainly white, with black tips and edges that have a greenish metallic lustre, and their secondary wing feathers are metallic bluish black. Their long tails may appear black, but in suitable light they can be seen to have a green metallic sheen for most of their length, with metallic violet and blue colouring visible near the tip. Magpies have white bellies and shoulder patches, and black vents. Their legs and beak are black, and their eyes have dark brown irises.

Finnish legislation protects all bird and mammal species that are not specifically listed as game species or unprotected species. The Magpie is among the few bird species listed as “unprotected” in Finland, together with the Hooded Crow, Fieldfare, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Feral Pigeon, and, in areas where reindeer are herded, the Raven.

Other species from the same family

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