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Magpies are one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. Magpies have shown complex emotions, including grief. They have been documented holding 'funerals' for fallen comrades, by circling the body, dancing, chirping, and even laying flowers near it. This spectacle lasts from 5-15 minutes. They also have episodic-like memory, making it possible to cache food (and brightly colored objects!) across seasons. Black-billed Magpies are very close relatives to European Magpies, who have been found to possess mirror self-recognition, an ability previously thought to be possessed by higher-level mammals only. European Magpies also have a neostriatum, an inner part of the frontal brain, approximately the same relative size as humans.
Black-billed Magpies prefer thickets with scattered trees or riparian groves. They have also been found in developed areas.