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1A long-tailed crow with boldly marked (or green) plumage and a noisy call.
- ‘The brain-to-body ratio of crows, ravens and magpies equals that of dolphins and nearly matches humans.’
- ‘A sudden flash of ebony and ivory caused me to scream shrilly without intention as the bird, a magpie, flew directly at my exposed face!’
- ‘If we do not get magpies under better control the damage they do to other birds eggs and newly-hatched chicks will continue.’
- ‘Driving through farmland you will come across a variety of wildlife including spur winged plovers, white faced herons, and magpies playing roadside roulette and taunting cyclists.’
- ‘There are 113 members of the avian family called Corvidae, or corvids, which includes crows, jackdaws, rooks, ravens, as well as jays, nutcrackers and magpies.’
- ‘Just 40 metres away was the lynx, sharing its meal with some noisy magpies.’
- ‘The corvines - crows, rooks, jays, magpies and jackdaws - are relentless stealers of other birds' eggs and chicks.’
- ‘There was the occasional chatter of magpies or jays, and once the bobbing flight of a greater spotted woodpecker.’
- ‘Like jays and crows, their cousins, magpies are mischievous and bold.’
- ‘The campus, which was once a barren patch of land, was converted into a haven for magpies and robins and blue jays in a short span of 30 years.’
- ‘Chit-chat - keep talking to your baby about what you see and hear as you walk along, anything from the noisy bus to the magpies squabbling in the trees.’
- ‘All around the greedy jackjaws, blackbirds, thrushes and magpies eye the ripening fruit and at the exact moment that the fruit ripens they pounce leaving nothing but pips.’
- ‘With the exception of magpies and pigeons, birds are rarely seen in gardens, but the talk included pictures of all kinds of birds in their natural habitats.’
- ‘A pair of long-tailed magpies is building a nest in the trees along the millstream that runs down from the hills and through town.’
- ‘Mr Fletcher said that a number of people had been caught keeping wild birds, particularly finches and magpies, as pets.’
- ‘Some kind of magpie was chattering from the cherry trees, sounding like a child's imitation of a machine gun.’
- ‘In learning to escape the vigilance of crows, birds also avoid the attention of some other predators, such as jays and magpies.’
- ‘He said the proliferation of Corvids birds like grey crows, magpies and rooks could be directly linked to the decline in songbirds in the area.’
- ‘Long-eared Owls usually nest in abandoned stick nests, often the nests of magpies, crows, ravens, or hawks.’
- ‘Netting unless very well put on the trees prove no good as the clever jackdaw or cheeky magpie can get in with ease in the smallest opening.’
2Any bird of the Australasian butcher-bird family, having black-and-white plumage and musical calls.
- ‘For 109 years the Australian magpie has been the Collingwood Football Club's emblem.’
- ‘After the first broadcast, which you recall was on mimicry of Australian magpies.’
- ‘The Grey Butcherbird, like the magpie, can also be responsible for swooping during Spring in an effort to protect their young.’
- ‘But when you get to magpies or butcherbirds the training period becomes longer, so in fact magpies have to learn for about 5 years before they are ready to breed.’
- ‘The pair compared data from studies covering 18 different species, including dwarf mongooses, meerkats, Florida scrub jays, western bluebirds, and Australian magpies.’
3Used figuratively to refer to a person who obsessively collects things or who chatters idly:‘his father was a garrulous old man who chattered like a magpie’[as modifier] ‘he would carry these documents home to appease his secretive magpie instinct’
- ‘For the rest of his long, innovative and hugely prolific career, he drew inspiration from the comics, novelties, magazines, toys and cheap novelettes collected over the years with magpie insatiability.’
- ‘English prides itself on being the magpie language, freely picking up foreign words to incorporate into its flexible vocabulary.’
- ‘The colourful packaging, all purples and pinks, should appeal to your magpie tendencies, while the actual products - eau de toilette, bath crystals and more - will not disappoint.’
- ‘This suggests that Scotland's best hope lies in the evolution of a creative magpie cuisine that draws on diverse culinary influences, tempered by the realisation that less is more.’
- ‘Which isn't to say that their music is entirely created by others - but it is a collaborative, magpie process, drawing on the talents of remixers as much as their own restless experiments with samplers and computer programs.’
- ‘The things inside came from Rayburn's magpie collection of boxes, art supplies and flea-market treasures, and they were arranged to suggest the way they'd once been stashed in his studio.’
- ‘While clearly inspired by a Romantic sensibility, he is never quite free from the bonds of his precise, inquiring, magpie mind.’
- ‘We are living in a society based on the concept of ownership; a magpie culture.’
- ‘I managed to avert my eyes in the Christmas decorations section - they're just so sparkly, you see… my magpie tendencies cannot resist.’
- ‘It was Jo Gordon's trademark Dr Who scarves that first aroused the magpie eyes of the UK fashion pack three years ago, sounding the first death knell for the soppy pashmina.’
- ‘In a nursing home herself, with the help of a retired schoolteacher, she rewrote her entire memoir and added it to her massive magpie stack of letters, clippings, essays, and keepsakes.’
- ‘They are very far from being traditional; they are magpie collectors of everything that might suit them, and that includes rhetoric.’
- ‘He was the human sampling machine, selling millions of records and drawing degree-level analysis from critics impressed by his magpie eclecticism and arch intelligence.’
- ‘The exquisite but inexpensive jewellery acts like a magnet to magpie wives and their pleased husbands who can finally afford ‘something really nice’ in the cheap displays.’
- ‘Yet if Paolozzi's work was the result of the brilliant deconstructions and recontextualisations of a magpie mind, at its heart lay simple draughtsmanship, a natural engagement with beauty.’
- ‘The Ding Foundation is the squirrel and magpie of the theatre world - collecting and rescuing abandoned objects, and all the debris and detritus of other people's lives, and animating them in order to tell stories.’
- ‘Together, they form a visual diary of his trips, containing thousands of photographs, ephemera, pages from magazines and newspapers - anything that catches Galliano's magpie eye.’
- ‘The better-known Salsa Celtica also stood out amongst the crop of musical magpies, playing to a jam-packed Fruitmarket and augmenting their Cuban sound with pipes and fiddles following the lead of the brass section and keyboards.’
- ‘The Eameses were magpie collectors of Americana - toys, tools, quilts, cotton reels, primitive paintings - and this love affair shines through their short films.’
- ‘Such are the artist's magpie tendencies that one of the reasons he chose his flat in Leith was that it afforded him a view of a scrapyard.’
4The division of a circular target next to the outer one, or a shot which strikes this.
- ‘This system was the basis of all match shooting, whether with match or service rifles, and (with the trifling difference that the bull counted 4, the inner 3 and the magpie and outer alike 2) it was followed in military range practice.’
- ‘The target was white with a black bull's-eye (counting 5 points) and two rings, invisible to the firer, called the "inner" and the "magpie," and scoring 4 and 3; the rest of the target was called the "outer" and counted points.’
Late 16th century: probably shortening of dialect maggot the pie, maggoty-pie, from Magot ( Middle English pet form of the given name Marguerite) + pie.
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