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Black Magpie - BirdForum Opus

Nominate subspecies
Photo by wengchun
Taman Rimba Ampang, KL, Malaysia

Alternative names: White-winged Mapgie; White-winged Jay; Black Jay; Black Crested Magpie

Platysmurus leucopterus


39 - 41cm. A rather heavy build black "jay":

  • Black plumage with green sheen
  • Large white wing patch (lacks in aterrimus)
  • Red eye
  • Black, short and stout bill
  • Stiff crest on each side of forehead (more pronounced in aterrimus)
  • Black legs

Sexes similar. Juveniles are duller than adults and more greyish or brownish.


From extreme southern Burma to the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and Borneo.
Uncommon in its range. Extinct in Singapore due habitat loss.



Two subspecies are recognized:

  • P. l. leucopterus:
  • P. l. aterrimus:

Black Magpie is the only species in its genus.


Moist lowland forests and mangrove forests up to 200m.



Call: heh-heh-heh. Very noisy and often first heard before seen.


Omnivourous. Not much known about precise diet but seen taking caterpillars, beetles and fruits.


Breeding season from December to May in the Malay Peninsula, eggs recorded in June on Borneo. Solitary breeder. The nest is a large platform made of twigs. It's placed 1 - 8m above the ground inside shrubby cover or in a low tree. Lays 2 - 3 eggs.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507

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