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Do Magpies Make Good Pets? Pros and Cons of Keeping Magpies as Companions



Do Magpies Make Good Pets


Magpies, with their striking black and white plumage and intelligent demeanor, have captured the curiosity of many. The idea of keeping a magpie as a pet might seem intriguing, but before taking the plunge, it’s important to consider both the benefits and challenges associated with bringing these birds into your home. In this article, we’ll explore the question: Do magpies make good pets?

Pros of Keeping Magpies as Pets

1. Intelligence and Curiosity

Magpies are renowned for their high intelligence and curiosity. They have been observed using tools, solving complex problems, and even recognizing themselves in mirrors. These traits make magpies engaging companions that can learn tricks and provide mental stimulation.

2. Vocal Abilities

Magpies are accomplished mimics and have a wide range of vocalizations, from melodious songs to mimicking human speech and sounds from their environment. This vocal prowess can make them fascinating and entertaining pets.

3. Bonding and Social Interaction

With proper handling and care, magpies can form strong bonds with their human caregivers. They enjoy interactive play and can become affectionate towards their owners, providing companionship and a unique connection.

4. Pest Control

Magpies are omnivorous and have a diet that includes insects, small rodents, and other pests. Keeping magpies around your property can contribute to natural pest control, helping to maintain a balanced ecosystem.

Cons of Keeping Magpies as Pets

1. Legal and Ethical Concerns

In many places, magpies are protected by laws that restrict their capture and possession. Before considering a magpie as a pet, it’s crucial to research and understand the legal implications in your region.

2. High Intelligence and Enrichment Needs

While their intelligence is a pro, it can also be a challenge. Magpies require mental stimulation and enrichment to prevent boredom and potential behavioral issues. Without proper outlets for their intellect, they can become destructive or exhibit problem behaviors.

3. Specialized Diet and Care

Magpies have specific dietary requirements that can be challenging to meet in a home setting. Their diet should consist of a variety of foods, including insects, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources. Providing a balanced diet requires careful planning and consideration.

4. Wild Instincts

Magpies retain strong wild instincts, which can manifest in behaviors like loud calls, territoriality, and attempts to forage or explore outdoors. These behaviors might be difficult to manage within the confines of a household.

FAQs about Keeping Magpies as Pets

Q1: Are magpies affectionate with humans?

A1: Yes, magpies can form strong bonds with their human caregivers and display affection through interactive play and vocalizations.

Q2: Can I keep a wild magpie as a pet?

A2: It’s generally not recommended to keep wild magpies as pets. They have specific care requirements that can be challenging to meet, and there may be legal restrictions on keeping them.

Q3: What do magpies eat?

A3: Magpies have an omnivorous diet that includes insects, fruits, vegetables, small rodents, and even scraps of human food. Providing a varied and balanced diet is essential.

Q4: Can magpies mimic human speech?

A4: Yes, magpies are capable of mimicking human speech and a variety of sounds from their environment.

Q5: Do magpies require a large enclosure?

A5: Magpies are active birds and require a spacious enclosure that allows for flying and exploration. A large aviary with environmental enrichment is recommended.


While the allure of keeping a magpie as a pet is understandable, the decision to do so requires careful consideration. Their intelligence, social nature, and captivating vocal abilities can make them engaging companions, but the legal, ethical, and practical challenges associated with their care should not be overlooked. Before embarking on the journey of bringing a magpie into your home, research thoroughly, and ensure that you are equipped to provide the specialized care they need.

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