Sunday, 19 April 2020

Shadow Shot Sunday - Magpie

On one of my walks around the old cemetery recently, I met a magpie (Eurasian magpie). I zoomed it in from a distance, and when I got the photos enlarged on my computer screen back home, I was amazed by the colours. (Usually thinking of this bird as black-and-white!) I also noticed that its feathers seem rather short - especially the tail. I got curious and started googling... My conclusion is that it must be in the process of moulting, i.e. shedding old feathers and producing new ones. (Any bird expert who disagrees is welcome to correct me if I'm wrong!)


  1. I find that lack of tail feathers very strange indeed. Presumably it's not a youngster. I have never seen one without tail feathers. I'm no expert on moulting but birds usually moult after the breeding season is over and I would have thought it was far too early for a moult yet. So I am perplexed.

  2. Graham I'm puzzled too. My best guess so far is that maybe it could be a young one from last year because I read somewhere that sometimes they don't form couples until their 2nd year. But so far I have not seen any picture to really match this one.

  3. Not only that, he is amid the pansies. How special, I LOVE it! I really like Magpies, but we have none around here. They are so smart, and love to play.

  4. We've got magpies but a different variety than that and they can be quite vicious if there is a nest nearby.

    1. Amy, I recall hearing that from other New Zealanders as well. I've only seen ours in quarrel with other big birds, like crows and gulls (and other magpies). There are two magpies' nests in trees I can see from my kitchen window. They're being used and added to every year.

  5. Many magpies live in my immediate neighbourhood; their nests are clearly visible during the colder season when the trees are without leaves, and they fly about and make their not exactly melodious noise - sometimes such a racket I am tempted to shut the window. But I love magpies, for their cleverness and beauty. Their feathers often have that metallic blue shine in flight, and I love their silhouette in flight, too - instantly recognisable, and reminding me of the "original bird", the archaeopterix.

  6. since i have never seen a magpie and only know they can be cooked into a pie, i don't know what it should look like. cute is what he is and i am a fan of black and white. so pretty... i have been told in the distant past i talk as much as a magpie


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