Magpie

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This article is about the birds in the family Corvidae. For the black and white bird often referred to by English speakers simply as 'magpie', see Eurasian magpie. For the Australasian bird in the family Cracticidae, see Australian magpie. For other uses, see Magpie (disambiguation).
Magpies
Magpie arp.jpg
Eurasian Magpie
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Genera

Magpies are birds of the Corvidae (crow) family, including the black and white Eurasian magpie, which is one of the few animal species known to be able to recognize itself in a mirror test.[1] In addition to other members of the genus Pica, corvids considered as magpies are in the genera Cissa, Cyanopica and Urocissa.

Systematics and species[edit]

Sri Lanka blue magpie

According to some studies, magpies do not form the monophyletic group they are traditionally believed to be—a long tail has certainly elongated (or shortened) independently in multiple lineages of corvid birds.[2] Among the traditional magpies, there appear to be two distinct lineages. One consists of Holarctic species with black/white colouration and is probably closely related to crows and Eurasian jays. The other contains several species from South to East Asia with vivid colouration which is predominantly green or blue. The azure-winged magpie and the Iberian magpie, formerly thought to constitute a single species with a most peculiar distribution, have been shown be two distinct species and classified as the genus Cyanopica.[3]

Other research has cast doubt on the taxonomy of the Pica magpies, since it appears that P. hudsonia and P. nuttalli may not be different species, whereas the Korean race of P. pica is genetically very distinct from the other Eurasian (as well as the North American) forms. Either the North American, Korean, and remaining Eurasian forms are accepted as three or four separate species, or there exists only a single species, Pica pica.[4]

Holarctic (black-and-white) magpies

Oriental (blue/green) magpies

Azure-winged magpies

Other "magpies"[edit]

  • The black magpie, Platysmurus leucopterus, is a treepie; it is neither a magpie nor, as was long believed, a jay. Treepies are a distinct group of corvids externally similar to magpies.
  • The Australian magpie, Cracticus tibicen, is conspicuously piebald, with black and white plumage reminiscent of a European magpie. It is a member of the family Cracticidae and not a corvid.

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]