Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Common Green Magpie (Cissa chinensis)


French: Pirolle verte German: Jagdelster Spanish: Urraca verde

Coracias chinensis


, 1783,

Mergui, Tenasserim, Myanmar


Isolated race margaritae distinctive on account of its yellow crown (frontally yellow in klossi) and markedly longer tail. Race robinsoni poorly differentiated from minor, and perhaps better merged. Five subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. chinensis (Boddaert, 1783) – Common Green Magpie – Himalayas from Uttarakhand (Garhwal) E to NE India (Arunachal Pradesh, S Assam hills), EC Bangladesh, N Myanmar, extreme S China (S Yunnan and SW Guangxi), Thailand, N Laos and Vietnam (N Annam), and possibly also S Laos.
  • C. c. klossi Delacour & Jabouille, 1924 – C Annam (Vietnam) and C Laos.
  • C. c. robinsoni Ogilvie-Grant, 1906 – extreme SW Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia.
  • C. c. minor Cabanis, 1851 – Sumatra and Borneo.
  • C. c. margaritae Robinson & Kloss, 1919 – Yellow-crowned Green Magpie – Mt Langbian (S Annam) in Vietnam.
  • Descriptive notes

    37–39 cm; 120–133 g. Distinctive and striking green magpie with graduated long tail, slightly shaggy rear crown, rather prominent bill, nostrils concealed by soft... read more


    Noisy; presence usually first indicated by its loud, penetrating calls, which vary in intensity of... read more


    Tropical and subtropical broadleaf evergreen and mixed deciduous forests, chiefly in foothills.... read more

    Food and feeding

    Basically carnivorous. Diet includes beetles (Coleoptera), crickets (Orthoptera), mantises (Mantidae), small frogs, snakes, lizards and... read more


    Egg-laying in Apr and May in India, Apr in Myanmar and Jan and Feb in Borneo. Solitary breeder. Nest a bowl of twigs, interwoven with... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally not uncommon to locally common over main part of range; distinctly scarce in W Himalayas (Uttarakhand, in N India); not well known in its... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. (2019). Common Green Magpie (Cissa chinensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 8 December 2019).