UGR research uncovers the unknown work of magpies: they disperse seeds in the countryside and thus help to regenerate forests and agroecosystems


The magpie is a bird that disperses large seeds such as acorns, nuts or almonds in agroecosystems. This process is key to regenerating forests and regulating the environment. Like other corvid species, a magpie can disperse up to 1,500 acorns in a few weeks. This is demonstrated by a series of experiments carried out as part of several research projects in which the University of Granada has participated.

The use of seeds marked with radio transmitters inside them has allowed researchers to know how far they disperse the seeds, where they hide them and what percentage of these they recover, since some are forgotten and never come back for them.

Bibliographic reference:

Molina-Morales, M., Leverkus, A.B., Albaladejo-Robles, G., Martínez-Baroja, L., Pérez-Camacho, L., Villar-Salvadorje, P., Rebollo, S., Rey-Benayas, J.M. and Castro, J. (2022), Linking animal behaviour and tree recruitment: caching decisions by a scatter hoarder corvid determine seed fate in a Mediterranean agroforestry system. J Ecol. Accepted Author Manuscript.