Two species of Pica occur in India, one identical with the English Magpie, the other peculiar to some of the higher parts of the Himalayas.
Pica differs from Corvus in having a long graduated tail and a first primary of very peculiar shape. In habits the two genera are not very dissimilar. The Magpies are, however, more addicted to well-wooded districts; they are equally wary and they are almost omnivorous. They build large nests of sticks, domed and placed in trees or large bushes.
The two Indian species of Magpies are very distinct from each other. The large local Himalayan species has no allies. But the smaller Magpie, which is the same as the English one, varies con¬siderably over the extensive tract of country it inhabits, chiefly in the amount of white on the quills of the wing.
Key to the Species.
a. Wing always under 9 inches ; a white or ashy band across the rump ………………P. rustica, p. 24.
b. Wing always over 10 inches ; the rump entirely black ………………P. bottanensis, p. 25.