Malaysian Birds - Magpies & Treepies


From the family of Corvidae

Magpies are passerine birds sharing the same family line with the crow - they are Corvidae. The name "Magpie" and "Jay" usually refer to the same bird but used at different time by different people naming the bird. To some extend, you can call the terms interchangeable.

As for the origin of the word "Magpie"? The bird was referred to as a "pie" until the late 16th century when the feminine name "Mag" was added to the beginning. Mag is a shortened form of the name Margaret. Pie comes from the Latin name for the bird, pica. The words 'piebald' and 'pied' (meaning of two colors, especially black and white) both come from the word 'magpie'.

In modern days, with more awareness on birds found world wide, today's Magpie, the naming can be divided into 2 groups. 1] The Holartic species - they are black/white as close resemblance to Crows and Jays. 2] The second group more colorful Magpie from the Far east - mainly in Blue and Green.

The stable diet of Magpie are worms, slugs and small insects. Occasionally Frogs and Snails. So it is not unusual to see Magpie scratching the ground looking for spiders or worms. They hunt by daylight as well as in the night. That's make them more carnivores than herbivores.

Like Crows, Magpie are large birds and their loud calls sounded more like cry. Not musical notes which is pleasant to human ears.

The "pied" Magpies are so common in many countries that tales and studies have revealed many traits. Magpies are known to steal other young birds away from their nests. They can be taught to say words in the manner of a parrot. Magpies, like all crows, have a reputation for liking shiny objects, and will reputedly steal jewellery, earning them the name 'The Thieving Magpie'.

Lastly, in Chinese fork lores, Magpies are symbols of good luck in China, in contrast with their relatives the crows, which are portents of bad omens. Perhaps all these are irrelevant to the Magpies seen in Malaysia. The few Magpies that we have over here, are forest birds and hardly seen. Their population is not that large whereby the mischief done by some could be of public knowledge.



  Black Magpie  
  Common Green-Magpie  
  Bornean Green-Magpie  

Treepie -Another group of birds closely related to Magpie.

  Bornean Treepie  
  Racket-tailed Treepie




In this page only the Magpies and one Treepie are featured. I cannot ignore the fact that I have mentioned that within this groups are Crows. Crows are not attractive bird at a time when these pages I am preparing feature manily  beautiful or colorful birds. In future update, a separate page on Crows may be created. But sad to say, these Crows are not popular birds, with little visitors to the page, I will accord the page low priority.

Birds like Short-tailed Magpie No.3 & No.4 Borneo Treepie are not omitted from the list above. I have used the list as prepared by Birdlife International as a standard. This is an example where the birds mentioned are not listed within.

There are few Magpies, especially the Green Magpies while nice and attractive birds - are hardly encountered. They are so difficult to meet up with, even with conscious attempts to track them down. So for those of you still waiting for the opportunity, be patience while you are at places where they likely to appear, the day will come unexpectedly.

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