Eurasian Magpie

Eurasian Magpie

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Mark Billiau.

Premium (World), region Antwerp, Belgium

Eurasian Magpie

The Magpie is a much maligned bird, often disliked because of its feeding habits and aggressive behaviour toward favoured songbirds.

Magpies are known to take bird eggs and chicks now and then.
Yet they are often beneficial birds too, perching on livestock and ridding them of ticks and feeding mainly on pest insects, invertebrates or vegetable matter.

In stories and fairy tales, the owl is always the symbol par excellence of wisdom and intelligence but biologists believe that the Magpie is among the most intelligent of birds and even among the most intelligent of all animals !

Various behaviours have been observed that indicate intelligence (to name a few : elaborate social rituals, the expression of grief, tool use, the ability to use one's own experience in predicting the behavior of conspecifics, mirror self-recognition as the only non-mammal known to possess this capability, and so on…..)
Their total brain to body ratio is equal to that of most great apes and cetaceans.

So, generally not popular, but all in all a very remarkable bird !

Dutch name : Ekster
German name : Elster
Latin name : Pica pica

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