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Common Green Magpie - BirdForum Opus

Nominate subspecies
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Sat Tal Forest, Alt. 5500 ft. Uttarakhand Himalayas, India, 21 November 2019

Alternative names: Green Magpie; Hunting Greenpie; Hunting Cissa; Green Hunting Crow

Cissa chinensis


Subspecies C. c. robinsoni
Photo © by cskhaw
Fraser's Hill, Malaysia, May 2004

37 - 39cm (14½-15¼ in). A distinctive and striking green magpie:

  • Black band from base of bill over eye to side of head
  • Green plumage
  • Chestnut wings with black-and-white tertial tips
  • Feet and bill bright red
  • Long graduated tail with whitish tip

Sexes similar. Juveniles are duller overall. The colours can bleach out and the green plumage becomes bluish!


  • klossi with a yellow forecrown
  • margaritae with entire crown bright yellow
  • robinsoni also with yellowish crown

Similar species

Similar to Yellow-breasted Magpie but has longer tail, bold black and white tertial tips (not pale green) and no yellow wash on underparts. Short-tailed Green Magpie has a much shorter tail and pale green tertials.


Found in Asia from the Himalayas in northeast India east to Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, extreme southern China (Yunnan and Guanxi) to Burma, Laos and Vietnam. Also in extreme southwest Thailand and peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.
Not uncommon to locally common.



There are 5 subspecies[1]:

  • C. c. chinensis:
  • C. c. robinsoni:
  • C. c. klossi:
  • C. c. margaritae:
  • Southern Vietnam (Langbian Mountains)
  • C. c. minor:


Montane forest. Broadleaved evergreen and mixed deciduous jungles up to 2100m


A shy bird. Travels with mixed species bird waves when feeding, especially with laughinghthrushes and drongos. [3]
Feeds on beetles, mantises, small frogs, snakes, lizards and bird's eggs and nestlings. Also seen feeding on carrion.
Breeding season starts in April and May in India and January to February in Borneo. The nest is a bowl made of twigs, placed well hidden in a small tree, amid shrubbery or in bamboo. Lays 4-6 eggs.
A resident species.


Recording © by Alok Tewari
Sat Tal Forest, Alt. 5500 ft., Uttarakhand Himalayas, India, 21 November 2019
This individual moved to the canopy after bathing in a stream, preened and called while on perch, and then, in flight.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Descriptions from BF Member 996sps
  4. 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

Recommended Citation

External Links

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