“There are 3 magpies to be found in Beijing. Two are common – the Black-billed Magpie (Pica pica) and the Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana). The third is the Red-billed Blue Magpie (Urocissa erythrorhyncha) which I saw only twice with no images.
“Apparently the Chinese name implies ‘Happy Bird’ and these birds are important in Chinese culture. There are symbols of happiness and if you hear one sing (quite common for the Azure-winged Magpie) then it foretells happiness and good luck. So we must expect much blessing to come.
“The Manchurians consider them sacred, and, as they took over leadership in the latter part of Chinese history, these birds have possible done well unlike other species.
“…the Azure-winged Magpie was observed in late afternoon at the Temple of Heave Park, an extensive park with some open grounds in Beijing City, China. This magpie is a sweet, large bird that is common in most parks, usually in groups of 5-15. Rather vocal and visible but camera shy. Usually feeding on acorns or other pine nuts but will also take food thrown to them in parks by locals, especially rice (above right).
“We enjoyed them very much during our stay in Beijing.”
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
9th October 2012