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11 Birds That “Collect,” Aka “Steal” Shiny Things (and Why)

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Looking for birds known for their ability to “collect” or “steal” shiny, glittery objects? Look no further than this list of birds known as scavengers, thieves, and hoarders.

11 Birds That “Collect,” Aka “Steal” Shiny Things (and Why) facebook image.

Whether it’s because they enjoy the color or sparkle of these items or because they enjoy the challenge of getting their hands on something that is out of reach, birds on this list are notorious for their “collecting” habits.

Keep reading to learn everything you want to know about these aerial thieves.


Why Do Magpies Like Shiny Objects?

Magpies are birds that are known for their intelligence and cunning when it comes to collecting shiny, glittery things.

Some experts believe they also enjoy the challenge of getting their hands on something that is out of reach.

What Birds Steal Things?

The following list includes the most common avian thieves.

1. Blue Jay

A beautiful  Blue Jay perched on a branch.
  • Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
  • Length: 25-30 cm
  • Weight: 70-100 g
  • Wingspan: 34-43 cm

Blue jays are a common bird that many bird watchers love for their beautiful blue color. Many people fall in love with this bird.

Despite their attractive appearance, blue jays are known for being birds that steal things. They are excellent scavengers and often target shiny, glittery objects that they see as valuable prizes.

With their impressive agility and quick reflexes, blue jays can easily maneuver through the trees and grab what they want.

2. Satin Bowerbird

A beautiful Satin Bowerbird is standing on the ground.
  • Scientific name: Ptilonorhynchus violaceus
  • Length: 32-33 cm
  • Weight: 173-290 g
  • Wingspan: 45-55 cm

The satin bowerbird has a beautiful metallic black plumage that shimmers in the light. However, this bird is also known for being a thief and a hoarder and is nicknamed “the garbage collector of birds.”

This bird is skilled at finding shiny, glittery objects and collecting them for its stash. With its long, thin bill, the satin bowerbird can quickly grab and carry whatever it wants.

Whether it’s currency, jewelry, or other shiny trinkets, this bird is a master at collecting and hoarding things.

3. American Crow

A beautiful American Crow perched on a branch.
  • Scientific name: Corvus brachyrhynchos
  • Length: 40-53 cm
  • Weight: 326-610 g
  • Wingspan: 85-100 cm

The American crow is one of the most common birds in the world. Although it is not the most attractive bird, it is undoubtedly one of the smartest.

Crows are known for being birds that steal things and are particularly attracted to shiny, glittery objects. They are excellent scavengers and have no problem hopping from branch to branch in search of valuable treasures.

With their sharp beaks and incredible intelligence, American crows are a force to be reckoned with when collecting and stealing the things they want.

4. Black Kites

A majestic Black Kite is standing on the ground.
  • Scientific name: Milvus migrans
  • Length: 48-58 cm
  • Weight: 560-940 g
  • Wingspan: 130-155 cm

Black kites are birds of prey just as likely to scavenge as they are to hunt their prey. They are notorious birds that steal things. They more often steal prey from other animals but end up stealing inedible objects because other birds are also drawn to them. In order words, black kites steal out of petty jealousy.

These birds are known for their incredible strength and agility, making it easy to snatch whatever they want and fly off with it.

Whether it’s food, shiny objects, or colorful trinkets, black kites are birds that collect and steal things to their heart’s content.

So if you’re a bird watcher looking for birds that like shiny objects, keep an eye out for these impressive avian thieves!

5. Eurasian Magpie

A beautiful Eurasian Magpie is standing on a meadow.
  • Scientific name: Pica pica
  • Length: 46-50 cm
  • Weight: 300-247 g
  • Wingspan: 52-60 cm

The Eurasian magpie is one of the most intelligent birds in the world. Not only is it a beautiful and elegant bird, but it is also famous for its skill at stealing things.

Magpies are known for their affinity for shiny objects, mainly jewelry and trinkets. With their long, curved beaks, magpies have the perfect tool for collecting and hoarding things.

Whether it’s a small object like a coin or a big one like an expensive necklace, the Eurasian magpie never hesitates to snatch it up. Magpies steal things because they like to collect them.

6. American Bald Eagle

A beautiful American Bald Eagle is taking off from a branch.
  • Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  • Length: 70-102 cm
  • Weight: 3-6.3 kg
  • Wingspan: 1.8-2.3 m

The American bald eagle is one of the most majestic birds in the world. It is the national bird of the United States, and this bird of prey is a powerful symbol of strength and freedom.

But despite its beautiful plumage, the American bald eagle is also known for being a thief. Although it is a capable hunter, it will often try to steal food from other animals, including mammals. It will also horde shiny things. Experts hypothesize that bald eagles do this out of ego and jealousy. It doesn’t serve a partial purpose.

7. Mynah

An adorable Mynah perched on a metal tube.
  • Scientific name: Acridotheres tristis
  • Length: 23-26 cm
  • Weight: 82-143 g
  • Wingspan: 120-142 cm

The mynah, or Indian myna, is a bird that collaborates closely with humans. It is one of the few birds that adapt well to living in urban habitats.

Although the mynah is not typically considered a bird that steals things, it will take shiny objects like coins and jewelry if it sees an opportunity to do so.

This trait is prevalent if the mynah lives in a city or urban environment. Mynahs have learned to value certain items because of human behavior. Their desire to steal probably comes from watching human behavior and what we value.

8. Common Cuckoo

An adorable Common Cuckoo perched on an old branch.
  • Scientific name: Cuculus canorus
  • Length: 32-34 cm
  • Weight: 110-130 g
  • Wingspan: 55-60 cm

Many people are familiar with the cuckoo and adore it due to its pretty song and call. But the cuckoo is also a notorious thief, particularly of other birds’ eggs and nests. Unlike other birds that steal shiny things, the cuckoo inherits its shiny items when it steals another bird’s nest.

9. Western Jackdaw

An adorable Western Jackdaw is standing on a meadow.
  • Scientific name: Corvus monedula
  • Length: 34-39 cm
  • Weight: 240 g
  • Wingspan: 70 cm

The western jackdaw is a part of the crow family. Like its relative, the American crow, it is a relatively ugly bird with incredible intelligence. Unfortunately, it uses this power to steal and collect shiny objects.

They love to collect these items in their nests, often littered with little bits of metal and plastic.

10. Great Bowerbird

An adorable Great Bowerbird is standing on a wooden table.
  • Scientific name: Chlamydera nuchalis
  • Length: 35 cm
  • Weight: 180-265 g
  • Wingspan: 70 cm

The great bowerbird is known throughout its native Australia as a thief and a master builder. It is famous for stealing shiny objects like tin foil, plastic, and other rubbish.

Great bowerbirds are also known for building elaborate structures called bowers, which they decorate and use to attract potential mates.

11. Burrowing Owl

An adorable Burrowing Owl perched on a wooden pole.
  • Scientific name: Athene cunicularia
  • Length: 51-61 cm
  • Weight: 200-260 g
  • Wingspan: 51-61 cm

The burrowing owl is a small owl native to the Americas. It makes its nest underground in small dens where it burrows. The burrowing owl decorates its nest with shiny metal-like bottle caps and tin foil.

Wrap Up

If you are a bird watcher interested in birds that steal things, then the birds on this list are for you. Whether it’s shiny objects, food, or colorful trinkets, these birds are masters of the art of thievery. With their incredible strength and dexterity, they are adept at snatching whatever they want and flying off with it.

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