Magpies are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about anything. They hunt for mice, frogs, squirrels, snails/slugs, insects, or any other small animal that crosses their path.
Fruits such as berries, apples, pears, grains like oats, and birdseed also make up a major part of the magpie diet in the summer months.
Their omnivorous diet allows them to thrive in any environment they find themselves in, whether it be the park, forest, or meadow.
Magpies get their name from their distinctive black and white plumage. They thrive in many places in Asia, Europe, and North America.
Magpies are flourishing in the suburbs because trash cans and household scraps are attractive and easy food sources. They can actually get most of their food from scavenging rather than hunting.
They are among the most intelligent and voracious birds. They are also amazing scavengers and find food in trash cans and on the ground. They can even crack open hard-shelled nuts to peck at the meat inside, or fly high into trees and snatch squalling baby birds right from their nests.
Let’s find out some favorite foods of magpies. Below is a list of 21 foods magpies love to eat.
21 Foods Magpies Love to Eat
Animals & Birds
Although rabbits are large compared to the size of a magpie, baby rabbits are a favorite prey for adult magpies.
Magpies also have a soft spot for squirrels, and if they get a chance to catch one, they will surely do so.
Anything that hops on the ground is food for magpies, including frogs. Magpies don’t mind eating toads and tadpoles as well.
As opportunist hunters, magpies devour mice quite often. Their tough beaks can easily break through the hard skeleton of small animals.
Small birds, especially baby starlings, are part of the natural diet of magpies. They are an important source of protein. During the breeding season, starlings actually make up a major part of the diet of magpies.
Since they are everywhere in groups, pigeons are definitely on the menu for magpies. In fact, it’s one of their favorite diets in summers.
7. Bird Eggs
Magpies are known for being egg thieves. If they find an opportunity, Magpies love to steal eggs from various bird nests.
They love to eat bees and wasps. In fact, wasps are their favorite type of insect. Magpies can even pose threat to bees by excessive hunting.
9. Cicadas and Beetles
The high protein content of insects makes them a favorite food for magpies. Insects such as cicadas and beetles can make up to 20% of a magpie’s diet.
Earthworms, millipedes, grasshoppers, and caterpillars are included in the main summer diet. Every type of crawler is a delight for them.
Fruit and Grain
Apples are one of the favorite foods of magpies. Although they don’t have much flesh, apples are a major part of their diet.
Magpies love eating figs. The ripe ones are their favorite.
Any type of berry is a delight for the magpie’s palate, including mulberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. So, magpies take full advantage of the summers by feasting on berries.
Pears are plenty in the season and magpies love to feast on them.
Grains include wheat, barley, rye, corn, and others. Magpies love to eat them when it is time for harvesting around farms.
Birdseed is a favorite for magpies in winter, especially when hunting becomes difficult. Magpies can hang around near bird feeders in winter and take advantage of the seeds.
Slugs are part of the natural diet of magpies. Sometimes you can watch them walk on the ground to find slugs and then peck the soft parts of their bodies.
As opportunistic eaters, magpies hunt for fish, too. They especially like to feast on ornamental pond fish, which are visible and easy to catch.
Magpies often feed on dead animals t they come across. They also peck ticks and maggots off of the decaying bodies.
20. Household scrapes
Magpies are adept at scavenging for food and often find their way to garbage cans filled with edible items. They eat leftover food scraps, including cooked or uncooked meat, squashed fruits, or bread.
21. Pet Food
People have tried feeding magpies with pet food, including dog or cat food, and they love it. Magpies will happily steal food from your pet’s dish.
Magpie diets are divided into two groups: summer and winter, depending on what food sources are available.
In the summer months, when animals and birds are abundant, they chiefly become omnivorous and eat a rich range of foods, including small birds, mammals, insects, and available fruits and grains.
Summer is also breeding season for magpies, so they feed on larger prey in order to build up enough energy.
In the winter months, when food is scarce, magpies rely on a vegetarian diet that includes fruits, grains, and berries. Occasionally they will prey on larger animals such as rabbits or live on dead animals.
We hope this was helpful and that you learned a few interesting facts about magpies.