Appearing on the cover of “Cell”, an international scientific journal, Taiwan Blue Magpie is one of the bird species most easily seen among the 29 endemic bird species in Taiwan. It is regarded as one of Taiwan’s “eye-catching and beautiful” birds together with Mikado Pheasant and Swinhoe's Pheasant.
Legend has it that the ancestors of Formosan Blue Magpie were originally from the regions of the Himalayas in Mainland China before migrating to Taiwan from Hainan island. Then the natural separation caused by the formation of the Taiwan Strait after the end of the ice age caused Formosan Blue Magpie to become a resident of Taiwan. Along with the development and changes in the ecological environments on both sides, Formosan Blue Magpie gradually evolved into a Taiwanese endemic species which was once voted as the “national bird” of Taiwan.
Compared with the shy and observant Mikado Pheasant and Swinhoe's Pheasant that live at high and medium altitudes in Taiwan, Formosan Blue Magpie, whose home range extends no further than broad-leaved forests at low and medium altitudes, is more amiable and approachable. Its most special feature is its propagation method. It is known as “helper at the nest”. In general, fledglings will fly off everywhere in search of their new home when they grow up. However, the Formosan Blue Magpie is inclined to stay near its original nest to serve as a nursemaid or guard, making up small groups based on family units. Therefore, you will have the chance to see other family members if you come across a Formosan Blue Magpie in the wilderness.
On seeing the Formosan Blue Magpie for the first time, you will be fascinated by its eye-catching royal blue feathers and vermilion beak. However, after hearing its call, you might be disappointed by its crow-like sound. That’s right – the Formosan Blue Magpie belongs to the Corvidae family. Despite its radiant appearance, Formosan Blue Magpie is born with a unique raucous cawing. It is even hard to imagine that it tends to put edibles out of sight until it feels hungry or there is a shortage of food. This is the typical survival mode of the Corvidae family, a bird species that is both beautiful and smart.