Pica rustica (Scopoli), Ann. i. Hist. Nat. p. 38 (1769) ; Newton, ii. p. 312 ; Dresser, iv. p. 509, pl. 260, fig. 2 ; Oates, F. Brit. Ind.. Birds, i. p. 24 ; Saunders, p. 237 ; Corvus pica, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 157 (1766) ; Naum. ii. p. 101, Taf. 56, fig. 2 ; (Sharpe), Cat. B. Br. Mus, iii. p. 02 ; P. hudsonica. Bp. Comp. List, p. 27 (1838) ; P. caudata, Keys and Blas. Wirbelth. Eur. p. 45 (1840) ; Hewitson, i. p. 234, pl. lx. fig. 3 ; Gould, B. of E. iii. pl. 216 ; Lilford, ii. p. 58, pl. 25 ; P. bottanensis, Deless. Rev. Zool. ii. p. 100 ; P. japonica et bactriana, Bp. Consp, i. p. 383 ; P. leucoptera ; Gould, B. of Asia, v. pl. 55 ; Sharpe, Oat. B. Br. Mus. iii. p. 66.
Pie ordinaire, French ; Pega, Portug. ; Marica, Urraca, Span. ; Gaza, Cecca, Ital. ; Elster, Germ. ; Skade, Dan. ; Skjoere, Norw. ; Skata, Swed. ; Harakka, Finn., Soroka, Russ. ; Acka, Pers. ; Hizen-karasu, Jap.
Male ad. (England). Head, neck, back, breast, wings, and tail deep black, glossed with bottle-green and violet-green ; rump dull white ; primaries white on the basal inner web ; scapulars and abdomen white ; thighs, anal region, and under tail-coverts black ; bill and legs black ; iris brown. Culmen 1.4, wing 7.4, tail 10.2, tarsus 1.85 inch. Sexes alike.
Hab. The whole of Europe from the Varanger Fjord to the Mediterranean ; Asia from Kamchatka to the Himalayas ; Tibet, Mongolia, China, and Japan; America from Alaska to Arizona, east to the Missouri river.
In habits the Magpie varies according to circumstances, for in England where it is persecuted, it is extremely shy and wary, but elsewhere, where not molested, it is tame and con¬fiding. It feeds on small mammals, carrion, and any animal food, eggs, young birds, insects, worms, fish (on the coasts), ami •even on fruit. Its note is a harsh chatter, somewhat modulated during the breeding season. Its flight is laboured and weak and it seldom flies far before seeking shelter. Its nest which is a bulky domed structure of sticks and turf worked together in the foundation with clay or earth, and the cup lined with fine roots or grass, is placed on a tree or hedge, sometimes in a low bush. The eggs, 6 to 8 or even 9 in number, are laid early in the season, and are pale bluish white closely spotted with brown or greenish brown, sometimes yellowish brown spotted with olive, and in size average about 1.48 by 0.94.
Specimens from Turkestan and Tibet (P. leucoptera) have more white on the quills, and those from Kamchatka (P. mmtschatica. Stejn) are even whiter, others from Sikhim and Bhutan (P. bottanensis) are said to have the rump entirely black and have accordingly been separated specifically from P. rustiea by some authors, but these differences are not constant. In Western N. America P. nuttalli, Aud. occurs, which has the beak and bare orbital skin bright yellow.
596. Pica rustica