Green magpies are a beautiful mid-sized songbird in the family Corvidae. The striking emerald green coloration of most of its body plumage is the result of yellow carotenoid pigments from dietary sources combined with the blue that is due to structural arrangement of the keratin in its feathers. Over time, both in the wild and in zoos and in museum drawers, the yellow pigment fades. Thus older feathers look turquoise blue. These birds have a bright orange-red bill, somewhat heavier than many other corvids and a strong black facial mask. Flight feathers are brown to red with faint barring. Bold white tips on black feathers decorate the tertiaries and underside of the tail.
Green magpies are native to southeast Asia.
- Fields, Helen. 2012. Why are some feathers blue? Smithsonian Magazine http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Why-Are-Some-Feathers-Blue.html Accessed 26 March 2012.
- GrrlScientist. 2012. Mystery bird: green magpie, Cissa chinensis. The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/grrlscientist/2012/mar/25/6 Accessed 26 March 2012.