Azure-Winged Magpies live in a variety of temperate locations including Japan, China, Portugal, and Western Europe, keeping themselves to gardens, hedges, wooded areas and local parks.
In these locations the magpie can enjoy their traditional seeds and fruit but also some other small creatures like tree frogs. They are currently not on the endangered species list.
The key difference in the Azure Winged magpie is that it has a smaller body, legs and bill than other magpies.
Look also for a white throat and a black patch of feathers on the top of the head. As one might expect by the name, the wings and tail feathers boast azure blue.
This species of magpie travel together in groups up to 30 large. They also nest and forest together.
They appear to be relatively intelligent, having a complex system of calls, and being able to detect any foreign eggs in their nests and weed them out (such as those from cuckoos, well known for this old trick).
The breeding season for Azure-Winged Magpies is from Marcy to July. It takes about two weeks for the 6-8 eggs to hatch. After the first hatching, females continue laying more eggs until the end of the season. The chicks mature in about 6 weeks.
Historically speaking, its believed that Portuguese sailors carried the bird from Asia around the 15th century, but recent genetic research indicates that the bird has a much more ancient ancestors that may explain its odd placement in the world.
If Gavin Menzies theories are correct, could not Chinese sailors have brought Azure Winged Magpies to Europe in the early 1400s?