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Korean magpie facts for kids

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Korean magpie
Korean magpie in Daejeon (side profile).jpg
Korean magpie
Scientific classification
Pica pica
Trinomial name
Pica (pica) sericea
Gould, 1845
Pica pica map.png
Dark red/orange/brown-grey: P. (p.) sericea range
Red: P. (p./s.) bottanensis range

The Korean magpie Pica (pica) sericea is a subspecies, or perhaps species, of East Asian magpie. It is a common symbol of Korea, and has been adopted as the "official bird" of many South Korean cities and counties.

It is similar to the European magpie, with a shorter tail and longer wings. It has black and purple colors, but very little green. The Korean magpie has the same chattering call as European magpies, though it is much softer.

Magpie myths

Koreans believed that magpies delivered good news, and when they saw a magpie chattering, they believed that visitors were coming.The most famous painting related to a magpie is the one with striped tiger (ggach'i wha horangi minhwa): the magpie is chirping to a tiger. The magpie represented good news and the tiger symbolized good luck, since its pronunciation in Chinese sounds similar to good luck (bok). There are many folktales about magpies.

The Chinese called magpies "Birds of Joy" or "Happy Magpies". Under the Manchu dynasty it also represented imperial rule: a few Manchu people in Northeast China even thought they were gods. In the west, though, magpies were often a symbol of pride.

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