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MAGPIE
Pica pica
Magpie © Tommy Holden
 

• Population
  changes

• Productivity
  trends

• Additional
  information

Conservation listings
Europe: no SPEC category (favourable conservation status in Europe, not concentrated in Europe)
UK: green
Long-term trend
UK, England: rapid increase
UK population size
650,000 territories in 2000 (1988–91 Atlas estimate updated using CBC/BBS trend: BiE04, APEP06)
Status summary
The remarkable adaptability of Magpies has enabled them to colonise many new urban and suburban localities since the 1960s. Magpies increased steadily until the late 1980s, when abundance stabilised (Gregory & Marchant 1996). Minor decrease has been recorded in the UK during the last five years. The declines in nest failure rates, during both the egg and the chick stages, have been substantial, perhaps as human persecution of nests has diminished. Larsen traps, introduced in the UK in the late 1980s, are now widely used by gamekeepers as a control measure. Clutch sizes, however, have decreased. A strong trend towards earlier laying has also been identified and may be partly explained by recent climate change (Crick & Sparks 1999).
 

Population changes

CBC/BBS UK graph
 
Table of population changes for Magpie

Source Period
(yrs)
Years Plots
(n)
Change
(%)
Lower
limit
Upper
limit
Alert Comment
CBC/BBS England 36 1967-2003 434 109 71 164    
  25 1978-2003 577 51 32 75    
  10 1993-2003 1206 -4 -9 1    
  5 1998-2003 1415 -3 -6 1    
CBC/BBS UK 36 1967-2003 507 106 69 152    
  25 1978-2003 677 44 27 61    
  10 1993-2003 1428 -3 -8 2    
  5 1998-2003 1712 -4 -6 -2    
BBS UK 10 1994-2004 1470 -1 -5 4    
BBS England 10 1994-2004 1226 -4 -8 1    
BBS Scotland 10 1994-2004 34 66 20 129    
BBS Wales 10 1994-2004 139 -12 -25 4    
BBS N.Ireland 10 1994-2004 63 13 -13 47    

BBS acknowledgement
 
CBC/BBS England graph
BBS UK graph
BBS England graph
BBS Scotland graph
BBS Wales graph
BBS N Ireland graph
 

Productivity trends

Table of productivity changes for Magpie

Variable Period
(yrs)
Years Mean
annual
sample
Trend Modelled
in first year
Modelled
in 2003
Change Comment
Clutch size 35 1968-2003 49 Curvilinear 5.54 eggs 4.53 eggs -18.3%  
Brood size 35 1968-2003 86 Curvilinear 3.04 chicks 3.01 chicks -1%  
Daily failure rate (eggs) 35 1968-2003 56 Linear decline 2.81% nests/day 0.31% nests/day -89%  
Daily failure rate (chicks) 35 1968-2003 55 Linear decline 1.72% nests/day 0.17% nests/day -90.1%  
Laying date 35 1968-2003 38 Curvilinear Apr 20 Mar 22 -29 days  

 
Clutch size graph
Brood size graph
Egg nest failure graph
Chick nest failure graph
Laying date graph

 

 

Insufficient data on CES
available for this species

 

Additional information

BTO blue divider
 

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This report should be cited as:
Baillie, S.R., Marchant, J.H., Crick, H.Q.P., Noble, D.G., Balmer, D.E., Coombes, R.H.,
Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Joys, A.C., Leech, D.I., Raven, M.J., Robinson, R.A. and Thewlis, R.M. (2006)
Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2005.
BTO Research Report No. 435. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

Pages maintained by Susan Waghorn and Iain Downie: Last updated 11 November, 2008