Eurasian Magpie  Pica pica


  • Pica : Latin for Magpie
  • Pica : Latin for Magpie

Vernacular Names:  Baluchistan: Duzd, Shakuk, Kash: Khashim brah

Distribution in India: Resident of Northern Himalayas in India.


Size of 43-50 cm. It has a distinctive magpie, mainly black and white, with long, graduated tail, medium-sized bill relatively wide at base, culmen down curved distally. The nominate race has head down to breast and most of upperparts black with inconspicuous purple and green sheen; scapulars white, narrow greyish band across rump; upperwing black, highly glossed green or greenish-blue on secondaries and tertials, inner webs of primaries white with black tips and bases, white usually concealed when bird at rest. The tail is black, highly glossed with green and reddish-purple, becoming almost matt black at very tip; flanks and central underparts white, lower belly, tibia feathering and undertail-coverts black; iris dark brown; bill and legs black. Both the sexes are similar.


It is found in open country, preferably with at least scattered trees. It avoids both tracts of treeless country and extensive woodland or forests. It is found in man-modified landscapes, favours mixed farmland, parks and gardens.

Food Habits:

It eats invertebrates, especially beetles , small mammals , lizards, frogs, bird eggs and nestlings, as well as carrion. It feeds almost entirely on ground, walking with bold, strutting gait, carrying tail upwards as it searches for insects; side-hops to catch prey. It perches on cattle and sheep to feed on ectoparasites, such actions sometimes resulting in aggravated sores for the host animal. It freely stores food, but usually retrieves items within a few days.

Breeding Habits:

Breeds in April-July in India. The nest construction undertaken by both sexes, female doing bulk of building, male supplying most of materials, work takes 1–8 week. The nest is a rather large, distinctively domed structure, made from sticks and twigs, with side entrance protected by thorny twigs, deep cup thickly lined with soft materials such as wool, animal fur, soft grasses and feathers, usually placed at variable height in crown of tall tree.They lay a clutch 2-8 eggs. The incubation is done entirely by female. The incubation period is 21–22 days, the female is fed at nest by male. The chicks are fed by both sexes, mainly by male. The chicks leave nest after 24–30 days. They are dependent on adults for several weeks further.