Crows (Corvidae)

Common Magpie (Pica pica) - HBW 14, p. 604

French: Pie bavarde German: Elster Spanish: Urraca Común
Other common names: Eurasian/Pied Magpie; Black-billed Magpie (when treated as conspecific with P. hudsonia); Maghreb Magpie (mauritanica); Kamchatka Magpie (camtschatica); Tibetan/Black-rumped Magpie (bottanensis); Oriental Magpie (serica)

Taxonomy: Corvus pica Linnaeus, 1758, Uppsala, Sweden.
Forms a superspecies with P. asirensis, P. nuttalli and P. hudsonia, and often treated as conspecific with first and/or last of those. Several races possibly warrant elevation to species rank, pending further research into comparative vocalizations and social behaviour as well as DNA molecular studies: N African mauritanica may have reached species level, but Spanish melanotos approaches it in several respects and may be more closely allied to it than to nominate race; distinctive camtschatica of NE Siberia is also isolated, while bottanensis o.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Corvus pica Linnaeus, 1758, Uppsala, Sweden.
Forms a superspecies with P. asirensis, P. nuttalli and P. hudsonia, and often treated as conspecific with first and/or last of those. Several races possibly warrant elevation to species rank, pending further research into comparative vocalizations and social behaviour as well as DNA molecular studies: N African mauritanica may have reached species level, but Spanish melanotos approaches it in several respects and may be more closely allied to it than to nominate race; distinctive camtschatica of NE Siberia is also isolated, while bottanensis of Tibetan region differs strongly from neighbouring forms, but is said to intergrade with anderssoni in N of its range; SE Asian serica exhibits interesting similarity to European races, although it seems that such superficial similarity may not be supported by findings of DNA studies. Many intergrading populations exist. A number of other races have been described, but situation complicated by intermediates (e.g. anderssoni is possibly an intermediate series of populations): galliae (from France) and germanica (Germany) are included in nominate race; kot (E Ukraine), laubmanni (Kelat, in Pakistan) and hemileucoptera (C Siberia) in bactriana; japonica (Japan), amurensis (near Khabarovsk, in Ussuriland) and jankowskii (near Vladivostok) in anderssoni; and hainana (Hainan I) and alashanica (Ala Shan, in C China) in serica. Race serica often misspelt "sericea". Ten subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • fennorum Lönnberg, 1927 - N Scandinavia, Finland and NE Baltic region E to W Siberia.
  • pica ( Linnaeus, 1758) - from British Is and S Scandinavia E to E Europe, S to Mediterranean, including most islands.
  • melanotos A. E. Brehm, 1857 - Iberian Peninsula.

     See all 10 subspecies
  • fennorum Lönnberg, 1927 - N Scandinavia, Finland and NE Baltic region E to W Siberia.
  • pica ( Linnaeus, 1758) - from British Is and S Scandinavia E to E Europe, S to Mediterranean, including most islands.
  • melanotos A. E. Brehm, 1857 - Iberian Peninsula.
  • mauritanica Malherbe, 1845 - N Africa (Morocco, N Algeria and Tunisia).
  • bactriana Bonaparte, 1850 - Siberia E to L Baikal, S to Caucasus, Iraq, Iran, C Asia and Pakistan.
  • leucoptera Gould, 1862 - S Transbaikalia (Russia), Mongolia and NE China (Inner Mongolia and NW Heilongjiang.
  • camtschatica Stejneger, 1884 - N Sea of Okhotsk, Kamchatka and Anadyrland (in Russian Far East).
  • anderssoni Lönnberg, 1923 - SE Russia (Ussuriland), extreme NE China and Korea.
  • bottanensis Delessert, 1840 - WC China (Qinghai and W Sichuan S to S & E Xizang) and C Bhutan.
  • serica Gould, 1845 - E & S China, Taiwan, N Myanmar, N Laos and N Vietnam.