Magpie Crow Bird is a familiar bird to many, with a distinctively pied plumage and a long green-glossed tail that exceeds the length of the body and is longer in the male. The head, breast, vent and upperparts of Magpie Crow Bird are black, the belly white, and it has a long white stripe along the scapulars. The wings are black with a blue gloss and a large white panel across the whole of the primaries. The metallic sheen on the wings and tail varies between green, blue and purple, depending on the angle of the light. The flight is rather flappy, fluttering and direct.
Magpie Crow Bird is a widespread and common resident, found in a wide range of habitats and even in urban areas. Magpie Crow Bird is generally favours lightly wooded open country, with adequate open ground and short grass for feeding, and can be found in open deciduous and coniferous woodland, farmland with hedges and often close to man in villages, parks and gardens. It builds a ragged domed stick nest, and feeds on insects and worms; when it has young it will plunder the nests of other birds.
Magpie Crow Bird has a range of calls, all rather harsh and unmusical, with the familiar 'rattle' call the most frequently heard. It is a "cha" or "jakh" note, rapidly repeated to make a staccato chattering, as in "jakh'akh'akh' akh'akh'akh", and is typically given in alarm or anxiety, such as when mobbing predators. Another commonly heard call is a two-note "ch'chack", "akh'jack" or "schrach-ak", and a single, more drawn-out "shree'akh", which are both used in a conversational context and often heard when a group of birds are together. It has other, less well-defined, harsh notes and also a rarely heard song, used in courtship and comprising a subdued chuntering and twittering, interspersed with some sweet notes.