Cissa (genus)

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Javan green magpie (Cissa thalassina)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Genus: Cissa
F. Boie, 1826
Type species
Coracias sinensis[1]
Gmelin, 1788

Cissa is a genus of relatively short-tailed magpies, sometimes known as hunting cissas, that reside in the forests of tropical and subtropical southeast Asia and adjacent regions. The four species are quite similar with bright red bills, primarily green plumage, black mask, and rufous wings.

Due to a low-carotenoid diet[2] they often appear blue or turquoise in captivity; the structural color of their feathers.

They are carnivorous, and mainly feed on arthropods and small vertebrates.

The genus was introduced by the German zoologist Friedrich Boie in 1826 with the common green magpie (Cissa chinensis) as the type species.[3][4] The name Cissa is from the Ancient Greek kissa meaning a "jay" or "magpie".[5]

The genus Cissa contains four species:[6]

Species of Cissa
Common and binomial names Image Description Range
Common green magpie
(Cissa chinensis)
Common green magpies have long tail feathers, striped black and white tertiaries, and a subtle yellow cap Lower Himalayas to mainland southeast Asia, as well as Borneo and Sumatra
Indochinese green magpie
(Cissa hypoleuca)
Unique to this genus, indochinese green magpies have a yellow underbelly Mainland southeast Asia and adjacent parts of China
Javan green magpie
(Cissa thalassina)
Javan green magpies have short tails and white tertiary feathers Java
Bornean green magpie
(Cissa jefferyi)
Bornean green magpies look much like the other species in this genus but have white irises Borneo


  1. ^ "Corvidae". The Trust for Avian Systematics. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  2. ^ "When Javan Green Magpies feel blue – Silent Forest". Retrieved 2023-04-03.
  3. ^ Boie, Friedrich (1826). "Generalübersicht der ornithologischen Ordnungen, Familien und Gattungen". Isis von Oken (in German). 19. Cols 969–981 [975 Fn. 2].
  4. ^ Mayr, Ernst; Greenway, James C. Jr, eds. (1962). Check-list of Birds of the World. Vol. 15. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 242.
  5. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  6. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Crows, mudnesters, birds-of-paradise". World Bird List Version 9.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 25 August 2019.