Friday, February 8, 2013

Common Birds of Sweden- Eurasian Magpie

Gothenburg is a city on the west coast of Sweden, with a an oceanic climate. During the summer, daylight extends 17 hours, but lasts only around 7 hours in late December. 

It is rather a green city, with many parks and nature reserves ranging in size from tens of metres to hundreds of hectares. Apart from these, the entire city has a decent green cover, with various trees and plants everywhere. One can find patches of thick woods right outside apartment buildings; roads are almost always lined with trees, good sized lawns in front of all apartments/villas. And most of these trees are fruiting trees. In short i can say there might not be a house which does not have a view of some trees and some green patch. 
A path through the woods right outside an apartment complex 
Also people here are bird-friendly. They do make it a point to have some nests, bird feeders and so on in their little gardens or even in their balconies. 

Owing to these, bird life is quite good here, with many species living in the urban gardens. One can always do some bird watching right from their windows or balconies, irrespective of the weather! In fact it is easier this way and more fruitful! It is amazing to see many birds that winter here in spite of the cold climate. 

Coming up here is a new series with posts about the common birds found here. Here's the first one.

Eurasian Magpie

One of the most common birds one sees in the city are Eurasian Magpies [Pica Pica]. I can say they are common mynas of Europe! They are seen everywhere - in balconies of houses, on lawns, in urban gardens, beside busy roads, in thick woods, and so on. They are highly adaptable and social. They feed on insects, other small birds, eggs, scraps, etc. They are also fond of processed food fed by humans, especially bread! 
The black, white and the iridescent shades 
It is a beautiful bird with with pure white and black colors with a metallic green and violet sheen on the wing feathers. The wings have white inner webs, conspicuous when the wing is open. The graduated tail is black, shot with bronze-green and other iridescent colors.  
A couple, foraging together
The Magpies are supposedly the most intelligent of birds. They have apparently the only bird to demonstrate mirror self recognition, hide food and remember food location, divide food equally among its chicks and so on. From my personal observation of these, I have seen that they visit places where they can possibly find food at the same time everyday. My neighbor here feeds them with scraps of bread occasionally and they wait outside the balcony everyday at around the same time!

The nest - a couple is making the nest ready during the end of winter when the tree is still barren
They do not avoid humans unless they are threatened. Magpies are monogamous and stick with their partners throughout the year - even while foraging. Nests are rather huge and built on tall trees. They breed in the spring and saw that they reuse nests, by redoing the inner lining. Both male and female participate in redoing the nest. 

A juvenile outside the bushes beside a walking trail
It is amazing the way these birds are adapted to the cold and snowy winters here. While many bird species migrate south during winter, these are a pretty common sight even in winters.


  1. We saw a lot of birds at the Djurgården. You'll like the place. In case you've not already visited it, please do visit. :)

    I've listed your blog on my blogroll (


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