Magpies are birds to which popular rumor attributes a passion for petty theft and idle talk. A similar reputation in these birds did not arise out of the blue - magpies are really greedy for various brilliant things that they are pulling to their nest indiscriminately. In addition, they are very sociable, and they quite love to announce the neighborhood loud caw, sitting on a branch. Because of this, croaks and general similarities are sometimes confused with ravens.
Interesting facts about magpies.
- The body length of magpies is about 50 centimeters, and its wingspan is 90 centimeters. Magpie tail is longer than her body.
- Magpies - one of the most intelligent birds that exist in nature. They have complex social rituals that, in particular, serve to express sadness. The magpies are also the only birds (and not mammals at all) that recognize themselves in the mirror - parrots, for example, consider their reflection to be another individual (see interesting facts about birds).
- The magpies do not like dense forests, and willingly settle closer to people.
- Magpies are omnivores - they can eat both plant and animal food (insects, small mammals or lizards). Sometimes these birds steal bones from dogs, and from the nests of other birds - eggs and chicks.
- The Chinese consider the magpie to be a bird of happiness, bringing good luck to people. In Russian folklore, forty is more likely associated with the image of gossip girls and simply talkative women.
- The nest forty has the shape of a ball with a small hole that serves as an entrance.
- To protect their offspring, magpies prefer to spend the night in large flocks.
- Magpies are very fond of shiny items. Birds decorate their nests with these trinkets to give them joy and attract a potential partner.
- Surplus food these birds bury in the ground, and then without problems they find these caches. A rare case of deliberate hoarding - for example, proteins, for example, usually cannot find some of their many caches of reserves (see interesting facts about proteins).
- Magpies collect ticks from the skins of large animals, sitting on their backs. Birds can also pull parasites that are already stuck.
- Chicks leave their nest when they are just 1 month old.
- Magpies are not migratory birds, but they are distributed almost throughout the world.
- Before you get offspring, forty can build a dozen nests, then to choose one of them, the best. Extra nests will distract the attention of predators.
- At one time, magpies lay 7-8 eggs, which the female incubates for 18 days.
They say about magpie that she is very clever, agile, cunning and dexterous. It is believed that these birds even have a special language, thanks to which they are able to communicate to each other important hazard information.
Magpies belong to the group of birds of the corvidae family. It includes representatives of 9 genera. All species of forty are similar in appearance, despite the fact that their genera are not always closely related to each other. Due to external similarity, they are united under one common name.
There are a total of approximately 30 species of these birds. Crows and jays are closest to the sorties among the corvids.
There is practically no external difference between females and males in these birds, although the latter are slightly larger. The weight of the latter is just over 230 grams, and the females weigh approximately 200 grams. Visually, such a small difference is difficult to determine. The body length of magpies on average reaches 50 centimeters, the wingspan is about 90 centimeters.
Forty in its unique color. All its plumage has a black and white color scheme. Her neck, head, back and chest are black with a metallic sheen and shimmer. Under the sun on the black plumage perceptible greenish and purple hues. The shoulders and abdomen are white (therefore called white-sided), and sometimes the tips of the wings are painted white.
The long tail of the bird is painted black. In the springtime, the color of bird feathers becomes faded and not so impressive. This is due to molting.
And young magpies have almost the same color as adults.
Where does forty live in natural habitat? The area of distribution of this bird is concentrated in the northern hemisphere, where it occurs on all its continents - in Africa, Eurasia and North America. Especially extensive areas of common magpies, covering the entire temperate zone of Eurasia (with the exception of the Far East).
Other species have narrower ranges. For example, Californian Magpie is found only on the California Peninsula, and only thick-beaked azure forty lives in Taiwan. Habitat blue magpie - a real mystery. They cover two areas: one - the Far East (China, Korea, Japan, northern Mongolia, Primorye), the second - the extreme west of Europe (Portugal and Spain). Today, science has not given any explanation of how birds of one species turned out to be so isolated from each other.
In all species, the habitat is similar, as is what the magpies eat. They prefer to settle in forests of various types - broad-leaved, coniferous and in the tropical jungle. They live in urban parks, in deaf thickets, and in light forests, and in forest plantations. While searching for food, they visit fairly open spaces: glades, heathlands, shores of lakes and rivers, meadows and fields.
There are species that stay alone most of the time of the year and form married couples and groups only after hatching eggs. There are those who live in small flocks, and during the nesting period they break up into separate pairs.
Habits and behaviors
Magpie is a bird whose gait is unique and special. On the ground, it moves mainly by jumps and also moves along the branches of trees with leaps, and it does this very agile and cleverly. In flight, the bird wave-like plans.
Her voice is not melodious, but you can hear it often enough. They chirp quite specific, and it is impossible to confuse this voice with the sounds of other birds. Mordy chaff often serves as a signal to other birds, for example, jerky and fast sounds appear when danger arises. Birds fly away with such sounds.
It is also noted that at the sounds of “kick” or “Kia”, forty means that this is its territory. The voice of the bird of the magpie speaks volumes not only to the birds, but also to all the inhabitants of the forest. For example, they can notify about the approach of the hunter.
In the summer it is rare to see a magpie in a city park, but in winter they often drop in the feeders of other birds. Magpies in nature are sedentary, they never fly away from their homes for long. Where there are a large number of them, they can form flocks in which they wander together. More often the similar phenomenon can be observed in the autumn.
With the onset of cold weather, by winter, when a lot of snow falls, along with jackdaws and crows, magpies fly away to smaller and larger settlements, where it is easiest for them to find food. Magpies are wintering birds.
In more detail about what forty feeds, it is possible to learn further in article. But here it should be noted that these birds are not always friendly with the locals of the villages, as they are dragging off something edible all the time. For them, hindrance is not even evil dogs, which they deftly deceive and distract, and then eat well. With all this it should be noted that magpies are wild birds, and it is impossible to tame them.
These birds always try to keep close to each other, which helps them to defend and fight for the territory at the time of the need.
What eats forty?
The forty is a picky bird, since its food is the most diverse. She uses almost everything she manages to get, even the bone that she steals from the dog. The magpies of many birds, in which they eat eggs, or small, newly hatched chicks, are being ravaged.
Speaking about what forty feeds on, it should be noted that it often brings problems to other birds, especially in spring. They often jump among shrubs in search of nests in which they find food. Other birds suffer from this.
Small rodents can sometimes be prey, with which magpies deal with their strong and powerful beak. Satisfied with these birds and very small food, such as caterpillars, insects and beetles. They feed on a variety of plant foods - grains, nuts, fruits of trees and shrubs, as well as seeds of various plants.
And what eats forty winter? In the cold season, these intelligent birds accompany large predators, searching for carrion, picking up garbage, fearlessly returning to their feeders. And they show such courage, which sometimes turns into arrogance and insolence. You can often watch the agile magpies bustling right under the nose of a bear, fox or eagle. In winter, they make regular movements, gathering on the outskirts and territories of settlements, and search garbage dumps with garbage. By evening, they return to the place of their constant overnight stay.
Little bit about enemies
Magpie has a lot of natural enemies. Eagles, falcons, eagles, hawks, owls, large owls and wild cats hunt them. As noted above, their nests are ruined by martens, and in countries of the tropics - by snakes.
With all this, the magpies live well and flourish to a greater extent due to their ingenuity and dexterity.
In the cultures of the peoples of different countries, the magpies occupied and occupy a different position. The Indians of North America associated them with the spirits of the forest; among the inhabitants of East Asia, they were the heralds of happiness and enjoyed considerable respect.
Forty relationships with people in Europe were not very good. The farmers of these birds disliked due to the fact that they picked up the scattered grains during the sowing period. And for hunters, they always seemed to be evil - chirping magpie alerts the whole forest of danger. Therefore, hunters often killed them. Scientists also ranked these birds as harmful because they ruin the nests of many songbirds.
In fact, there is a benefit from them - magpies eat harmful insects.
A little about the bird itself: general information
A magpie (ordinary or European) is a bird representing the family of corvids and the genus forty.
Before we proceed to the description and find out what constitutes the nest of magpies, consider the habitat and distribution of birds in the world.
Magpies inhabit all of Europe. It is absent only on some Mediterranean islands. They also inhabit parts of coastal areas in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria (north of Africa). In essence, the magpie is a sedentary bird, but there is a migratory one in Scandinavia.
Forty different populations inhabit the most diverse ends of the earth. The nest of magpies also differs in shape and size depending on its habitat.
There are magpies both in Turkey and in parts of Iran, where they extend almost to the coast of the Persian Gulf itself. Birds of this species are distributed from north to south to the Sea of Japan. In Asia, they are settled in northern Vietnam, in north-western Mongolia. A separate isolated population lives even on the Kamchatka Peninsula. There are also monuments of nature - a small protected population in the northwest of Fr. Kyushu. North America also has shelter for the forty - western half of the continent (from Baja California to Alaska inclusive).
Magpie's nest: photo
The magpies are obviously under heavy shrub and woody vegetation. They are especially fond of lake and river floodplains with thickets of alders and willows, with small meadows, remnants of indigenous forest and mowing. The realm for them became the forest belts stretched along the southern steppes of Russia.
In these places there is a very close neighborhood of pairs: they live only a few dozen meters apart. This is a record population density for birds, as a rule, avoiding such a neighborhood. Magpies practically do not live (rarely) in deeper and dense forests, but they live very well in city parks.
Where do the magpies build their nest? Common species are sedentary birds. In the spring at the beginning of April, the couple usually builds a nest on a bush or tree (height from 1 to 12 meters above the ground), and they measure its location with the level of safety and anxiety. In places where people are absent (in nature), litter houses can be arranged even at a height of about 1.5 meters from the ground, and in urban parks at a height not lower than 6 meters.
Nests are forty in shape and size very large (up to 75 cm in diameter), so they are clearly visible.
How to build a magpie nest? The base of the nest (frame), they are made from long and thick dry twigs. Then on such a rather massive foundation they build a bowl made of earth or clay. And the latter is reinforced with thin birch branches. Then, the inside of the tray is lined with thin branches of willow, birch and roots of some plants, and above the nest itself something like a roof is constructed, representing a loose, rather randomly folded canopy from larger dry branches. The latter construction significantly increases the size of the nest. With such a wonderful canopy from the rain, there is no salvation, but the clutch and chicks from various feathered predators can be well protected.
Magpie Nest (photo presented above) is a fairly reasonably built structure.
Habits, behaviors, breeding
Magpies often chirp. This means that an undesirable person has entered the bird’s field of view, whether it is a human or a beast. Moreover, they show such deep indignation at any meeting. They raise especially strong chatter if there are chicks in their nest. It should be noted that even many predators in the daytime avoid appearing in their eyes. The hunt will still fail.
This bird basically earned its nickname (“thief”) due to its irresistible passion for appropriating various small items without the knowledge of their owners. Especially they are not indifferent to the products made of glass or metal.
This bird is very cautious in the neighborhood of a person, it will never let itself be caught off guard. In the forest, she warns her comrades and all the surrounding inhabitants with a cry for danger.
Despite caution, the magpie is quite easily tamed, and even distinguished by his attachment to his master and a peculiar mind. Even this bird can learn to pronounce individual words.
It happens that the magpies construct several nests, and they occupy only one. Represents a housing of almost spherical shape with a side entrance. In the nest, magpie-females usually lay 5-8 eggs in April, and then hatch them for about 17-18 days, after which they feed the chicks.
The basis of food forty in spring and summer - animal food (from the smallest insects to fish, cast ashore). The smallest they can even steal from a bucket from a gaping angler. In the winter periods of forty eats everything that is edible, does not even disdain the contents of the boxes intended for garbage.
A magpie is a useful bird that destroys numerous small pests and rodents in the fields. But she also has a negative quality that is harmful to humans: she often steals chicks and eggs on farms.
In general, forty ordinary likes to settle close to human habitation. Therefore, the nests of this bird are often found in urban parks, squares, forest-park zone, and even man-made gardens. The magpies do not like deaf forests and rarely arrange a dwelling there. Birds of this species are found in the European part of the continent, in Asia, in the north of Africa, and also in North America. It should be noted that the birds living in the east of the Eurasian part of Russia are smaller. Сороку обыкновенную выделяет особая манера полета – птица выбирает только прямую траекторию движения, а после приземления гордо и даже грациозно передвигается по земле танцующими шагами.
В разных регионах обитают представители определенной породы сорок. Вот, список самых распространенных разновидностей сорочьего семейства:
- сибирская голубая,
- гималайская зеленая,
- китайская лазоревая,
- испанская голубая,
- красноклювая лазоревая.
In principle, the name of the species makes it easy to understand where it is more common. But this does not always reflect reality. For example, long-tailed magpies like to settle in the forests of South Asia.
Magpies prefer to live in pairs. And these birds are devoted to their partner all their life. They are also distinguished by the mastery of the dwelling, that is, the nest. In the construction process both birds take an equal part. Forty nests have a spherical shape, and for its construction they use foliage, branches, and clay. The inside of the nest is lined with grass, straw, and fragments of other animals' hair. It is worth noting here that the forty ordinary decorates its dwelling according to all the laws of the construction business: the nest necessarily has an entrance located on the side, the building and the roof protecting the birds from the weather.
Magpies nest in separate pairs, as well as small colonies. As a rule, they equip their dwellings at a decent height, and this is done for the purpose of safety during the period of incubation of chicks. Typically, the female - forty lays 5-8 eggs, which have a characteristic bluish-green color. The process of breeding chicks lasts 18-20 days. Throughout this period, the mother of forty does not leave the nest and very carefully protects the future offspring. In general, forty is very strongly developed instinct of motherhood. These birds are the most caring parents among birds. But the future father of the family also does not mess around: he supplies her friend with food and protects his nest.
After the birth of the chicks, another four weeks gain strength in the nest. Only after this period expires, the parents are allowed to do test flights. Parents protect their offspring, feed the chicks until they are fully mature.
The food is delivered to the nest by adult members of the female of the family. Forty ordinary is not too picky in food. These birds consume:
- various beetles,
- nestlings of small birds (tits, finches).
If the food base in the habitat is scarce, then the magpies decide to destroy other people's nests. But, when there is enough food for chicks, these birds are not engaged in robbery.
Remarkable traits magpie
The forty ordinary, like the crow, is distinguished by intelligence and intelligence. And this bird is very curious, it likes to follow and observe. Forty always thinks about her actions, she is able to assess the situation. Any changes around the alarming bird immediately, and, noticing the danger, she immediately begins to make shrill sounds. It is a loud cry of forty signifies to the congeners about the approach of danger. It is important to emphasize here that the shouting cry is also alarming to other animals and birds. Therefore, the magpie is sometimes called the forest intelligence officer. Probably, it was from here that the famous proverb about the news that “forty brings on the tail” went.
By the way, the tail of the magpie also performs a special function: when it sits on a branch, it twitches. This behavior in other members of the avian family is not observed.
In addition to the listed characteristics for magpie characteristic:
- High activity.
- Love to change habitat.
- Increased caution, because of which she avoids close contact with a person.
- Curiosity, prompting her to look into other people's nests.
- The ability to make long-distance flights, to which the bird is usually decided for the sake of the desire to find a treat.
There is an opinion that the magpie is able to steal jewelry and shiny items. Of course, the bird can steal the thing she liked, but she would venture on such an act if she does not threaten anything. In other situations, forty will not risk his own life for the sake of an incomprehensible knickknack.
As noted earlier, the forty ordinary is satisfied with the food supply, which is near. It mainly consumes insects and small animals. The usual menu of the bird are:
He loves forty to eat vegetable food: seeds, grains, nuts, small fruits.
Forty will not refuse a piece of meat if such an accident falls out. During the nesting period, when there is a need for more high-calorie food, magpies steal eggs of small songbirds or eat their nestlings. True, the magpie is able to attack only single birds, because, living in flocks, birds can give a serious rebuff to the predator.
Do not shun forty carrion and food waste, it is often fed by visiting the feeders. When it comes to food, forty sometimes shows frank arrogance, stealing food directly from under the nose of the main forest predators - a bear or a fox.
In this regard, it is interesting behavior of black forty, living in the north of Africa. Birds of this species, in search of food, move en masse to pastures, where they set up temporary “parking” on the backs of cattle. Moreover, animals perceive such an act of birds, calmly, because magpies, like some other birds, clean their hair from parasites and other pests.
Enemies of magpie
Although the forty ordinary itself is a threat to many fauna, it also has enemies. In this list:
Magpies living in the tropics are subject to constant snake attacks. True, thanks to the intelligence of these birds, they often manage to avoid danger.
Interesting facts about life forty
The mention of magpie is found in the cultural heritage of various nations. Thus, the Indians of North America believed that the bird is associated with forest spirits. Residents of Eastern Asia have always been to the Forty with honor and respect. They have believed for centuries that this bird brings happiness. In Europe, on the contrary, the attitude towards the forty is negative, especially among farmers. This is due to the fact that these birds constantly attack gardens and fields.
But in Taiwan, the thick-billed azure forty is a symbol. Unfortunately, today this unique species is on the verge of complete extinction due to the destruction of the natural habitat for the bird. Therefore, measures are being taken to restore the number of this rare population.
The results of the scientific research of ornithologists are interesting. They proved that the magpie is capable of performing complex social rituals, which confirms the high intelligence of the bird. A magpie can even recognize his own reflection in a mirror and express emotions.
There is one more positive feature of these restless birds - the ability to heal. Cleansing the skins of domestic animals and livestock from various parasites and insects, magpies save them from many diseases.