The Indochinese green magpie

Writer: Isaac Cohen  |  Editor: Liu Minxia  |  From: Shenzhen Daily

Two yellow-breasted magpies perch on a tree at Wutong Mountain in Shenzhen on Feb. 19, 2022.

Indochinese green magpie

Shenzhen is well known for having a wide variety of resident bird species as well as regular visitors. Once in a while our city receives unique and unexpected passersby, such as the fascinating Indochinese green magpie (Cissa hypoleuca). The astonishing vibrant green bird, measuring 35 cm, will take any observer’s breath away.


The green magpie has a very loud call that will immediately catch any wildlife observer’s attention; however, its green coloration makes the bird quite difficult to spot, as it blends perfectly with the surrounding vegetation.


Aside from its green plumage, this fantastic bird has a thick black stripe that goes all the way from the base of the beak to the back of its head and covers the eyes. The beak is bright red as is the distal part of their wings. However, this species has shown a lot of different color variations that go from being entirely blue to having a yellow belly and a green back.


A yellow-breasted magpie perches on a tree at Wutong Mountain in Shenzhen on Feb. 19, 2022.

Green magpies are known for being social birds, usually flying together in flocks. Mating pairs also like to build their nests together using some roots or small twigs. The female will lay up to four eggs per clutch and the incubation period will last for about three weeks.


This beautiful species feeds on almost any animal they can find that fits their bills. Picking through leaf litter or foraging on the ground, they try to find insects, frogs, lizards and even snakes.


A yellow-breasted magpie perches on a tree in the rain at Wutong Mountain in Shenzhen on Feb. 19, 2022.

It is quite remarkable to have these amazing creatures visiting Shenzhen since this species is not a migratory bird, so feel lucky to have them around and enjoy the new visitors to our city. If we continue protecting Shenzhen’s green areas, it is very likely that in the near future we may have even more species not only passing by, but staying among us forever.