Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


How to Care for a Magpie Bird

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • 1 4-foot-square cage

  • 2 perches

  • Food dish for insectivore diet

  • Food dish for commercial seed mixture

  • Insectivore rearing mixture

  • High-quality dog biscuits

  • Strips of lean meat

  • Worms

  • Commercial seed mixture, including millet

  • Day-old mice

  • Water dish

The striking black-and-white, black-billed magpie is native to western North America. These conspicuous birds inhabit both rural and urban areas. Magpies are omnivorous and feed on fruit and grain, but also prey on bats, mice, frogs, snakes and rabbits. Magpies also actively hunt for the nestlings of other birds to feed their own babies during the breeding season. These beautifully colored birds are highly intelligent and make for interesting pets.

Provide your magpie with a cage which is at least 4 square feet.

Place a perch at either end of the cage.

Lay paper at the bottom of the cage. This should be removed and replaced as soon as it becomes soiled.

Feed your magpie an insectivore-rearing mixture, which is available from a veterinarian. Add lean mince and a high-quality dog biscuit to the staple insectivore diet. Strips of lean meat and worms will also be readily accepted by the magpie.

Offer a commercial wild bird food, including millet, in a separate bowl. Keep the bowl filled on a daily basis.

Offer pink or day-old mice to your magpie, once or twice a week. These tiny creatures are best euthanized by holding their hind legs between your thumb and forefinger and hitting their head very hard against a solid surface, like the corner of a work surface.

Provide the magpie with cool and clean water. Fill the water bowl daily and clean it out every few days.

Spend time with your magpie. These birds are intelligent and inquisitive and become bored if left alone in the confined space of a cage.

Repeat words and very short sentences in the vicinity of your magpie, if you keep the bird as a pet. These birds can mimic sounds and your pet may develop a vocabulary.


  • It is illegal to keep native members of the crow family, such as the black-billed magpie, in the U.S. Contact your local wildlife rehabilitation facility regarding magpies if you have rescued any for whatever reason. These facilities are best qualified to rehabilitate an injured bird.