Magpie baby food

What Do Magpies Eat? 25 Foods they Consume

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Magpies are birds of the Corvidae family. They are best known for their intelligence and bold personality. For example, the Eurasian magpie has been ranked among the world’s most intelligent creatures.

Research carried out by the Journal of Comparative Psychology shows that magpies have the ability to remember faces, and can keep memories for a very long time. So, there’s a high chance they can scold you again if they had done so before. According to a mirror-mark test experiment, magpies also are able to recognize themselves in a reflection.

Unlike other birds who sing and call out, magpies warble, trill, whistle, and chatter. Just like parrots, magpies also mimic sounds in close proximity, such as human speech and wind chimes.

How about what magpies eat throughout the seasons? And what eats magpies? Should you feed a magpie in your home along with other birds?

This article will give you some fun facts and insights about magpie’s diet including that of their babies.

What Do Magpies Eat?Magpies eat a diet that consists of worms, seeds, spiders, and other foods.


Magpies eat a diet that consists of worms, seeds, spiders, frogs, mice, snails, caterpillars, flies, and other foods. They are mainly omnivores because their diet constitutes both plants and animals. That is why magpies can thrive in any environment they find themselves in. 

Magpies are also amazing scavengers, and you’d always see them trying to find food in trash cans.

Here are the top 25 foods magpies eat:

  • Insects
    • Beetles
    • Insect larvae
    • Spiders
    • Bees
    • Cicadas
    • Crickets & and other creepy crawlers
  • Fruits
    • Pears
    • Apples
    • Berries
    • Figs
  • Grains
    • Oats
    • Acorns
    • Other bird seeds
  • Animals and Birds 
    • Mice
    • Frogs
    • Squirrels
    • Snails
    • Young rabbits
    • Pigeons
    • Bird’s eggs
    • Starlings
  • Other Foods
    • Dog and cat foods
    • Carrions
    • Household scrapes
    • Fish

What Do Magpies Eat in the Winter and Fall?During the winter magpies eat more plant-based foods.


Magpies eat more plant-based foods during winter and fall. These include grains, berries, and lots of wild fruits. They also scavenge food from chicken runs, bird tables, and households. Additionally, they help themselves on the flesh of decaying dead animals and feast on snails and frogs whenever an opportunity presents itself.

Magpies rely on each other to find food during such times when temperatures are very low. Flocks join each other to form a larger winter roost. Baby magpies hardly make it throughout the winter.

What Do Magpies Eat in the Summer?

Magpies eat more animal material, such as worms, spiders, caterpillars, flies, and beetles during summer. But it doesn’t mean they won’t eat anything else apart from living foods in the summer. Magpies are opportunistic eaters because they will eat almost anything they come across whenever they are hungry.

What Do Magpies Eat in the Spring?

Magpies often catch small animals and birds during spring. They also eat lots of carrion, dead, decaying flesh of animals, and scavenge food in the households. Magpies often cause great destruction during spring as they normally invade the neighborhoods in search of food. Many smaller birds also nest in spring. Therefore, magpies may get a chance to eat their eggs and young ones.

What Do Magpies Eat During Their Breeding Seasons?

Magpies eat eggs and young ones of other birds during their breeding seasons. However, they also eat arthropods and cereal seeds whenever they can’t get eggs. Research carried out by TC Hall also shows that magpies are well known to store food for the breeding seasons.

Using their beaks, magpies dig holes in the ground, place the food, and cover it using grass, leaves, or stones to be retrieved later. These food storage areas are normally around the places they live where they can guard them.

How Do Magpies Obtain Food?Magpies have excellent hearing abilities which they utilize in foraging underground food.


Magpies use their sight, smell, and hearing to obtain food. They have excellent hearing abilities which they eutilize in foraging underground food. While on the ground, they can hear extremely faint sounds of grass being chewed underground. They then pierce the ground using their beaks to pull out their prey. 

Floyd & Woodland carried out an experiment placing speakers underground, playing sounds of recorded beetle larvae. It didn’t take long before a magpie located the sounds of speakers and dug them out.

When not hunting beetles and worms from the underground, magpies spend their time raiding nests and scavenging. You may also spot them in the dustbins and trash cans trying to find any food. They also invade gardens and homesteads in search of berries and any leftover foods.

How Can I Feed Magpies at Home?

Some foods like dairy products may possibly harm a magpie’s health. So, it’s recommended that you feed them live insects and worms. Moreso, it’s easy to find all these natural treats in your backyard. 

All you need to do is dig up the ground, turn over bricks, logs, and rocks, and you will perhaps find so many of these tasty animals for your feathered friends. You can also give them wild fruits as a treat.

Avoid feeding magpies raw meat, cheese, and bread. According to a study on Applied and Environmental Microbiology, raw meat and mince cause great havoc to magpie’s overall health. 

Is It Okay to Feed Magpies?

It’s best not to feed magpies. Apart from giving them wrong foods that may damage their health, magpies can easily become territorial birds around people and other birds. They will view people they have never seen before as intruders. They even threaten to attack them by flying over their heads while flapping their wings furiously! While magpies may not cause any physical injuries, this might really frighten your visitors. Magpies also destroy nests and eggs of other species around them as a way to mark their territory.

How Does the Diet of Magpies Impact Other Species?

Magpies keep the populations of their prey in check. Their predation plays a significant role in the ecosystem by ensuring a natural balance between other species. For example, all birds will compete for the same sources of food and end up hungry if all their chicks get to survive all through to adulthood.

Magpies are also very resourceful in agriculture. The US Department of Agriculture points out ways in which magpies benefit agricultural producers through the consumption of insects and scavenging. 

What Eats Magpies?Magpies are normally hunted by foxes, dogs, and coyotes.

© Photography

Magpies don’t see humans as a threat, they are normally hunted by a number of predators, including coyotes, foxes, dogs, monitor lizards, and cats. Besides, other birds like eagles, hawks, ospreys, and owls will also make an attempt to kill magpies. 

Magpies perfectly know their enemies. They will do their best to protect their families and friends from predators knowing well that the injured and young magpies are often a target to the predators.

What Do Baby Magpies Eat?

Baby magpies eat what their parents feed them. They are often fed worms and insects. The male magpie defends the nest while the female is responsible for feeding the babies. Baby magpies stay for 24 to 30 days in the nest before moving out. Their parents still feed them further for four weeks after leaving the nest. Baby magpies don’t go far though, they stay within their parent’s territory.

What Do Magpies and Their Babies Eat? – Outlife Expert

Magpies, like other birds of the Corvid family (including crows and ravens), are omnivores and eat a variety of food items. This includes their babies, that mostly eat insects in their first weeks of life.

Adult magpies feed on a broad diet of smaller animals, eggs, seeds, and carrion and they will even attack larger animals like mice or other birds for their flesh. Baby magpies eat softer foods and are mostly fed smaller insects or worms, by their parents.

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Magpies Eating Video

Magpie is a bird infamously known for its thievery, stealing shiny objects from anywhere it can find. In North America the main breed is the Black-billed magpie (also known as the American magpie) and in Europe the most common magpie is the Eurasian Magpie, which has the same feeding habit.

If you see a magpie at your bird feeder, you will most likely see it eating the more energy-dense foods such as suet, larger seeds, and nuts.

They usually don’t bother too much with the smaller seeds but will gladly eat sunflower seeds and peanuts.

These foods have more protein and fat, which makes them more valuable to the magpies.

Especially nestling magpies have a high need for energy and protein rich foods, but adult magpies also feed on more fat and protein than most other species.

This is because magpies are intelligent and fairly large birds that need energy for their brains and high energy expenditure. This is especially true when they are growing.

Their high intellect allows them to obtain the more energy-rich food items as they recognize them more easily and are able to outsmart other birds (and humans!) to get them.   



What Do Baby Magpies Eat and Drink?

Magpies are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals, but insects are the best source of food for baby magpies.

Magpie babies are usually cared for by both parents in the first part of life. They feed them and watch over them until they leave the nest and can fly on their own.

As is also common for other birds, the parent magpies feed the nestlings mostly insects as they have a lot of protein that the nestling magpie needs to grow.Magpie nestlings need a diet high in protein provided by their parents.

After leaving the nest juvenile magpies still depend on their parents for nourishing them until they can find food themselves. Their parents will even travel for long distances to find food for the babies, but mostly the fledgelings stay nearby.

The mother or father bird will first crush harder food items before feeding them to the baby. This is done to make sure that the food becomes soft enough for them to digest easily.

The baby magpies get most of their water through the food they eat as their mother cannot carry water for them. In addition, they may also drink a few droplets when it rains.

What to feed abandoned baby magpies

If you find an abandoned baby magpie, it is not generally recommended to take it in and feed it. Instead, try to locate its parents and bring the baby bird into their sight.

If you’re not successful in reuniting parents with their nestling child, you can feed the nestling of fledgling magpie yourself.

If very young, you can try and squash some worms and carefully put them into the mouth of the bird using cotton tips. You may also soak the cotton tip in water if you suspect the magpie is thirsty.

If the bird is a bit older, you may just present worms or other smaller insects to it and it will likely eat by itself.

What Do Baby Magpies Eat in the Wild?

After leaving their nest, it is now time for the magpie fledglings to find food for themselves.

It takes about 18 days or so before the magpie babies can leave their nest as fledglings, where the parents will continue to feed them for a while.

Fledging magpies are still helped out by their parents for a while after leaving the nest. They mostly bring them insects.

They are still young and cannot fend off predators, so they depend on their parents to protect them.

When they are in the wild they will feed on soft insects like crickets, ants, and worms. They behave mostly as carnivores and will prefer these as they are high in proteins.

Young birds require more protein than adults as proteins are needed for their growth.

They also need energy for growth and development and they will also feed on small grains like oats, barley, and corn. But best of all is a source of fat from suet, nuts or birds eggs if available.

They also feed on berries and other fruits that are available in the wild. The fruits are sources of many vitamins which give them immunity and strength.

Do magpies eat pigeons?

While magpies are unlikely to attack healthy adult pigeons, they do sometimes attack and eat dying or weak individuals.

Magpies know that animal protein is the best source of nutrients they can get, so they do not shy away from attacking other animals including birds.Magpies may group together to defeat and devour other backyard birds like pigeons.

Pigeons are large meaty birds that, if possible, magpies will gladly consume for their meat. However, they do not normally attack pigeons unless they show signs of weakness or offense.

What Do Magpies Eat in Summer?

Magpies are usually seen in groups during summer, and they feed on worms that are hidden under the soil. They also eat small rodents like mice, lizards, frogs and other insects that are available to them.

There is abundant availability of food during summer so magpies are eating a lot and are often seen actively searching for food. They are rather busy doing this rather than resting, unlike during winter when they rest in trees or bushes.

The reason why there is plenty of food during summer is that many plants produce fruits during summer and lots of insects are around.

These fruits attract many animals that the magpies can prey upon, and this helps them survive better during this season.

Also, the soil is also warmer during summer due to the heat, and this makes it easier for worms to come closer to the surface of the ground.

Because other birds and animals are abundant during summer and magpies may steal the eggs and nestlings of other birds during spring and early summer.Magpies will also eat fruits although they prefer insects.

Cereal like wheat, barley, and oats are also available during late summer and fall. They eat them at the drying/ripe stage as it is the most nutritive stage of cereals.

What Are Magpies Eating in my Lawn?

If you see magpies in your lawn, it is likely that they are feeding on insects. Magpies are omnivores, meaning they eat plants and meat, but they prefer the high protein and fat content of animals.

Therefore it is highly possible that the magpies are feasting on insects in your lawn.

They may also be eating smaller animals like frogs or mice. Magpies are hunters and they will prey on anything that comes in their way. If the insects are not available, then they may eat small animals, and even other birds, as an alternative.

Magpies will mostly eat insects like worms in your lawn

They also eat grass seeds as a source of energy, and sometimes even the grass itself. Grass helps in producing chyme, which is a mix of food and digestive juices. It also acts as ballast on the intestines, helping them digest foods better.

Do Magpies Eat Ants?

Yes, magpies do eat ants. Ants are an important source of proteins for magpies. They will eat them as they contain lean meat.

Ants are healthy for magpies and they will eat them whenever the opportunity arises.

When eating them they make sure that the ants do not climb on their bodies. They will eat them at a faster rate so that ants do not have enough time to crawl on their bodies.

Do Magpies Eat Worms?

Yes, magpies do eat worms. Magpies mainly feed on insects in lawns and in fields. During winter when there is a scarcity of insects they may resort to eating worms.

They search for worms in the soil and eat them when they sense their presence. They make a quick swoop on the worms and will try to catch them before they burrow into the soil again.

Do Magpies Eat Mice?

Yes! Adult magpies are known to hunt for and eat smaller rodents like mice. If other food items are scarce, they will group together to attack common species of mice like the house mouse or field mouse.

If they find a mouse nest, they will also eat baby mice without hesitation. However, mice nests are usually not accessible to magpies.

Juvenile magpies are usually not fast and experienced enough to hunt and catch mice, however, they may eat a mouse that is found dead e.g. run over by a car, and easy to access without too much competition from other scavengers!


Magpies are omnivores, meaning they eat plants and meat. Therefore it is highly possible that the magpies are feasting on insects in your lawn.

They may also be eating other smaller animals like slugs, frogs, or mice. Magpies are hunters and they will prey on anything that comes in their way.

If the insects are not available, then they eat seeds and nuts as an alternative.

They rarely eat plants, but some grass helps provide fibers, which acts as ballast on intestines helping them digest foods better.

If you are annoyed by magpies in your yard, check out which birds they might scare away and how some techniques to keep pests away will also work for magpies!

Backyard birds in the United States

Are you interested in how the backyard birds in your state compare to other states?

Then check out my other blog posts below:

  • Backyard birds of Alabama
  • Backyard birds of Colorado
  • Backyard birds of Delaware
  • Backyard birds of Georgia
  • Backyard birds of Hawaii
  • Backyard birds of Illinois
  • Backyard birds of Iowa
  • Backyard birds of Kentucky
  • Backyard birds of Louisiana
  • Backyard birds of Maryland
  • Backyard birds of Massachusetts
  • Backyard birds of Missouri
  • Backyard birds of Nebraska
  • Backyard birds of New York
  • Backyard birds of North Carolina
  • Backyard birds of Oklahoma
  • Backyard birds of Rhode Island
  • Backyard birds of South Carolina
  • Backyard birds of Tennessee
  • Backyard birds of Texas
  • Backyard birds of Virginia
  • Backyard birds of West Virginia
  • Backyard birds of Wisconsin
  • Backyard birds of Wyoming

Or in Canada:

  • Backyard birds of Ontario
  • Backyard birds of Prince Edward Island
  • Backyard birds of Saskatchewan
  • Backyard birds of Quebec

Not on the list – check out the rest of my posts on backyard birds here!

Maybe you would like to know if the Blue Jay or Cardinal dominates in the bird feeder hierarchy or how birds such as seagulls sleep at night? Or why mourning doves poop so much.

If you are interested in posters and other wall arts etc. with drawings of all the backyard birds you have just read about, check out my portfolio over at Redbubble:

American Museum of Natural History Birds of North America. DK; Revised edition (September 6, 2016). ISBN: 978-1465443991

National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America, 2nd Edition. National Geographic; 2nd edition (October 15, 2019)

Birds of North America. National Audubon Society. (Knopf April 6, 2021). ISBN: 978-0525655671

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Soroka Olga Alexandrovna

pediatrician of the highest category, gastroenterologist.

Information about education:

Graduated from the pediatric faculty of the Rostov State Medical University

2007-2009. clinical residency at the Department of Children's Diseases No. 1 on the basis of the Regional Children's Hospital

Simultaneously with her residency, she worked as a pediatrician on duty at Children's City Hospital No. 1 in Rostov-on-Don.

Since 2009 she has been working as a pediatrician at the Regional Clinical and Clinical Hospital

In 2010 she was trained on the problem of genetic and phenotypic aspects of thrombosis and bleeding in clinical medicine at the Ural State Medical Academy in Yekaterinburg.

2012 - primary specialization in gastroenterology on the basis of GOU VPO RostGU

2013 - the first category was assigned in the specialty pediatrics

2014 - advanced training course in pediatrics

Gastroenterology cycle in 2017 in the amount of 144 hours at the Russian State Medical University of Roszdrav.

Advanced training cycle "Pediatrics" in 2018 in the amount of 288 hours at Rostov State Medical University of the Ministry of Health of Russia.

Advanced training cycle "Psychosomatic disorders and borderline psychiatry" in 2019 in the amount of 144 hours at Rostov State Medical University of the Ministry of Health of Russia. nine0008

Advanced training cycle "Nutrition for a healthy and sick child" in 2019 in the amount of 36 hours FSBEI HE "SPb GPMU"

2020 advanced training: "Hepatology of childhood"

recommendations for the treatment of diseases of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum"

2021 advanced training: "Actual issues of gastroenterology and pediatrics"

Pediatrician, pediatric gastroenterologist Soroka O. A. regularly improves his professional level, participates in the work of conferences of domestic and foreign experts. nine0008

Area of ​​professional interests:

Caring for children from the neonatal period to 18 years.

In his work, he considers the main approach to assessing the state of health of the child, identifying the root cause of the disease and drawing up an individual treatment plan and further monitoring of the child. In the presence of concomitant pathology, he analyzes all the data obtained during the examination and makes a final diagnostic judgment, drawing up treatment regimens, determining their order. nine0008

Deals with general and specific issues of the pediatric profile (pathology of the respiratory system, examination of frequently ill children, differential diagnosis of anemic syndrome, allergic pathology, diseases of the urinary system, vegetovascular dystonia, assessment of hereditary predisposition to the development of hematogenous thrombophilia, determination of the basic state of hemostasis and development of an individual plan management of the child, as well as differential diagnosis of the causes of increased bleeding, etc. ). nine0008

O.A. Soroka conducts express diagnostics of the assessment of the child's health status under the program “Weekend Tour. Express diagnostics for children.

The peculiarity of the program is that in just 3-4 hours the child takes tests, undergoes the necessary studies, and on the same day, based on the results, he receives competent advice from a specialist.

Parents have the opportunity on one Saturday to sort out the state of health of their child, to identify existing problem, assess risks, prevent complications.