For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Common green magpie.

Common green magpie

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Common green magpie" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (July 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Common green magpie
Nominate subspecies
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Genus: Cissa
C. chinensis
Binomial name
Cissa chinensis
(Boddaert, 1783)
Native distribution of
the common green magpie

The common green magpie (Cissa chinensis) is a member of the crow family, roughly about the size of the Eurasian jay or slightly smaller. In the wild specimens are usually a bright green colour (often fades to turquoise in captivity or with poor diet as the pigment is carotenoid based[2]), slightly lighter on the underside and has a thick black stripe from the bill (through the eyes) to the nape. Compared to the other members of its genus, the white-tipped tail is quite long. This all contrasts vividly with the red fleshy eye rims, bill and legs. The wings are reddish maroon.

It is found from the lower Himalayas in north eastern India in a broad south easterly band down into central Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra and northwestern Borneo in evergreen forest (including bamboo forest), clearings and scrub.

This bird seeks food both on the ground and in trees, and takes a very high percentage of animal prey from countless invertebrates, small reptiles, mammals and young birds and eggs. It will also take flesh from a recently killed carcass.

The nest is built in trees, large shrubs and often in tangles of various climbing vines. There are usually 4–6 eggs laid.

The voice is quite varied but often a harsh peep-peep. It also frequently whistles and chatters.


In bluish plumage due to lack of lutein, Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand

The common green magpie was described by the French polymath Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon in 1775 in his Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux.[3] The bird was also illustrated in a hand-coloured plate engraved by François-Nicolas Martinet in the Planches Enluminées D'Histoire Naturelle which was produced under the supervision of Edme-Louis Daubenton to accompany Buffon's text.[4] Neither the plate caption nor Buffon's description included a scientific name but in 1783 the Dutch naturalist Pieter Boddaert coined the binomial name Coracias chinensis in his catalogue of the Planches Enluminées.[5] Buffon believed that his specimen had come from China but the species only occurs in the extreme south of the country. The type locality was redesignated in 1952 by the German ornithologist Erwin Stresemann as Mergui, Tanintharyi Region, Myanmar.[6]

The common green magpie is now one of four species that are placed in the genus Cissa that was introduced by the German zoologist Friedrich Boie in 1826 with the common green magpie as the type species.[7][8] The generic name is from the Ancient Greek kissa meaning a "jay" or "magpie". The specific epithet chinensis was chosen by Boddaert in the mistaken belief that the specimen illustrated by Martinet had come from China.[9]

Five subspecies are recognised:[8]

  • C. c. chinensis (Boddaert, 1783) – Himalayas to south China, north Indochina, Thailand and Myanmar
  • C. c. klossi Delacour & Jabouille, 1924 – central Indochina
  • C. c. margaritae Robinson & Kloss, 1919 – Lang Bian Mountains (south Vietnam)
  • C. c. robinsoni Ogilvie-Grant, 1906 – Malay Peninsula
  • C. c. minor Cabanis, 1850 – Sumatra and Borneo


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2018). "Cissa chinensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T22705809A130381297. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22705809A130381297.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ Shelton, L. C. "Successful Breeding of the Long--tailed Cissa at the Houston Zoo". AFA Watchbird. 16 (5): 8–11.
  3. ^ Buffon, Georges-Louis Leclerc de (1775). "Le rolle de la Chine". Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux (in French). Vol. 5. Paris: De L'Imprimerie Royale. pp. 181–182.
  4. ^ Buffon, Georges-Louis Leclerc de; Martinet, François-Nicolas; Daubenton, Edme-Louis; Daubenton, Louis-Jean-Marie (1765–1783). "Rollier, de la Chine". Planches Enluminées D'Histoire Naturelle. Vol. 7. Paris: De L'Imprimerie Royale. Plate 620.
  5. ^ Boddaert, Pieter (1783). Table des planches enluminéez d'histoire naturelle de M. D'Aubenton : avec les denominations de M.M. de Buffon, Brisson, Edwards, Linnaeus et Latham, precedé d'une notice des principaux ouvrages zoologiques enluminés (in French). Utrecht. p. 38, Number 620.
  6. ^ Stresemann, Erwin (1952). "On the birds collected by Pierre Poivre in Canton, Manila, India and Madagascar (1751–1756)". Ibis. 94 (3): 499–523 [516]. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1952.tb01847.x.
  7. ^ Boie, Friedrich (1826). "Generalübersicht der ornithologischen Ordnungen, Familien und Gattungen". Isis von Oken (in German). 19. Cols 969–981 [975 Fn. 2].
  8. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Crows, mudnesters, birds-of-paradise". World Bird List Version 9.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  9. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 101, 109. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Common green magpie
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?