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Brief Summary

    Common green magpie: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia

     src= In Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand  src= Egg, Collection Museum Wiesbaden

    The common green magpie (Cissa chinensis) is a member of the crow family, roughly about the size of the Eurasian jay or slightly smaller. It is a vivid green in colour (often fades to turquoise in captivity), 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. When dead, the colour of the bird changes into blue (according to H.J. Noltie's Natural History Drawings from the Collection of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles).

    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.

    Brief Summary
    provided by EOL authors
    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, in life and in museum drawers, the yellow pigment fades or wears away. Thus older feathers look turquoise blue. These birds have a bright orange-red bill, somewhat heavier than other corvids, and a strong black facial mask. Flight feathers are chestnut with faint barring. Bold white tips on black feathers decorate the tertiaries and underside of the tail. Green magpies are native to southeast Asia.

Comprehensive Description

Morphology

    Feather coloration
    provided by EOL authors
    A cross section of the rami from head feathers in this species (Hudon 2005) shows a basal layer of dark melanin around the medulla, surrounded by a wider layer (described as a "homogenous cloudy cell"). Interference of light through this cloudy layer, when backed by the dark pigment, results in the blue that we can see. When feathers are green, they have a thin layer of yellow pigment in the cortex outside of the cloudy cell layer. Blue feathers lack pigment in the cortex layer. Authors have suggested that the yellow pigment wears away, so that the bird turns blue over time. Why are other green birds not prone to this color change? Perhaps the layer of pigment is particularly thin in Cissa species or perhaps there is some other reason why the pigment is more easily lost.