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The Eurasian magpie or common magpie (Pica pica) is a resident breeding bird throughout the northern part of the Eurasian continent . It is one of several birds in the crow family designated magpies, and belongs to the Holarctic radiation of " monochrome " magpies. In Europe , " magpie " is used by English speakers as a synonym for the European magpie : the only other magpie in Europe is the Iberian magpie (Cyanopica cooki), which is limited to the Iberian Peninsula . The Eurasian magpie is one of the most intelligent birds , and it is believed to be one of the most intelligent of all non- human animals . The expansion of its nidopallium is approximately the same in its relative size as the brain of chimpanzees, orangutans and humans. It is the only bird known to pass the mirror test , along with very few other non-avian species. The magpie was described and illustrated by Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner in his Historiae animalium of 1555. In 1758 Linnaeus included the species in the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae under the binomial name Corvus pica. The magpie was moved to a separate genus Pica by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760. Pica is the Classical Latin word for this magpie .The Eurasian magpie is almost identical in appearance to the North American black -billed magpie (Pica hudsonia) and at one time the two species were considered to be conspecific.