Magpie (PICA PICA) Bird Introduction


With its clean lines and subtly rich colouring, the magpie is one of Britain’s beautiful birds. But it is also an extremely aggressive coloniser, attacking and eating small and young birds and eggs when it moves into an area, extremely annoying to gamekeepers. Farmers dislike it because it feeds on grain. But it also eats vermin, insects and other farmland pests.

Bird Information and Facts


Magpie bird is a distinctive black and white bird. Black head, body and wings, with a sharply defined white belly and a long black tail, the tail and wings tinged with iridescent greens, blues and purples when seen at close quarters.



The bird has a size of 45cm (18 in.)


Warsh ratting chatter in short or linger bursts; warning chack-chack.

Magpie Bird Habitat

The bird is an habitant of open farming country, open woodland.


All year throughout Ireland and Britain except the far north of Scottland.

Similar Species

Anything else/ The magpie bird is unmistakable.

Interesting Facts about Magpie Bird

Usually seen in groups of two or three, the magpie bird can assemble in larger numbers at times of display or roosting. This observation gave rise to the traditional rhymes about magpie numbers, one of which goes:

One’s sorrow, two’s mirth,
Three’s a wedding, four’s a birth,
Five’s a christening, six a death,
Seven’s heaven, eight is hell,
And nine’s the devil his ane sel’.


More familiar to viewers of the ’70s and 80s children’s TV series, ‘Magpie’, will be the version used in the programme’s theme tune:

One for sorrow, two for joy,
Three for a girl and four for a boy,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told.


The magazine series was so named because of the magpie’s attraction to all sorts of shiny objects, which it collects and hordes in its nest.

in folklore, it has associations with witchcraft and bad luck. In some parts of the country, a magpie bird spotted on its own must be formally greeted — “Good morning, Mr. Magpie!” — to avert bad luck. In Devon, seeing a magpie brought ill-fortune which could only be prevented by spitting three times. In Scotland, a death was forewarned by magpie birds flying near to a household’s windows. The name, a corruption of the older version maggot-pie, may derive from marguerite (the Old French word for a white pearl) and pied (meaning black and white). The old country name for both the bird and the pretty white marguerite daisy was Margaret.

You may also like this bird:

Leave a Reply

Close Menu