Typical Magpie Appearance Magpies are notable for their striking black and white appearance. Their dark legs, bills, and heads are accented by patches of pure white on their bellies, wings, or backs. Feathers on their tails and wings are iridescent, flashing shades of green and purple in the right light. Although male and female magpies look nearly identical, males can grow one to two feet in length, while females tend to be slightly smaller. With tails almost half the length of their bodies, these highly intelligent and social birds are easy to identify. Issues Associated with Magpies Related to both crows and ravens, magpies can be differentiated from these two all-black birds by their large, white markings. Overall, magpies are beneficial animals that eat pest insects, such as grasshoppers and caterpillars, as well as feed on carrion. Still, the birds can become a nuisance when they gather in large numbers, squawking loudly and eating garden crops, nuts, and berries. Farmers tend to have the most issues with magpies, as they have been known to peck at the eyes of newborn animals and eat chicken eggs from time to time. Control & Removal Placing bird nets over rows of plantings can deter magpies. Certain scare devices may also work, but are never totally effective. As these birds are protected by federal law, trapping them legally and humanely can be a costly and difficult task without professional assistance. To safely remove nuisance magpies, contact the wildlife specialists with Critter Control.