Common Green Magpie

Crested Masked Bandit

This illustration was my fourth coloured pencil bird art, another practice bird in my sketchbook. I really wanted to focus on some bright blues and greens, so I scrolled through Instagram (it’s my weakness for pretty pictures), and came across a spunky one by Vishal Monakar.

There was something about the way this masked bandit cocked his head, spiked his feathers, and “wore sunglasses”. He tickled my core and I thought he was the coolest bird in town. I wanted to draw him! Vishal was so wonderful to chat with and I am very happy we still keep in touch long after our first communication.


Common green magpies are members of the crows and jays family, which probably explains their loud squawky calls and smart spunk. They’re also not much of a vegetarian bird either, consuming mostly small reptiles, invertebrates, small mammals, eggs, young birds, and fresh carcasses. They can be found in parts of China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Though normally bright green in the wild, they will fade to turquoise or blue when in captivity or after death.

According to Bird Life International, their population has declined but not to the threshold of being vulnerable. There is also not enough data to quantify the population size. I hope this means environmental protection laws will be in effect to help these beautiful birds maintain or increase their numbers in the wild.


Vishal’s life became a series of glorious experiences after discovering Nature’s endless wonders. He has always wanted to travel to unseen places, so his journey began by capturing landscapes, birds, and wildlife. One day while out in the field, he noticed a tiny bird, an Oriental Pratincole, attack a giant Sarus Crane. He crept closer to get a better shot, then another Oriental Pratincole landed close behind him! So he turned around and noticed this clever little bird would take small flights to lure him away from the Cranes. It turned out that he was close to their nesting site and to protect her nest, she created a distraction. At this moment, Vishal was transformed into a passionate bird photographer. With India’s amazing selection of exotic species, he showcases their beauty on his Instagram account @monakar.vishal. Vishal also believes in the importance of educating children about wildlife and encourages them to birdwatch. His dream would be to launch a full-time career following his passion of doing professional photography and holding birding tours around India. If you’re interested in any of his images or guided bird photography tours, please connect with him on Instagram.

Materials used: Faber-Castell Polychromos in Canson ArtBook

This image is not for sale. Please contact me for commissions if you are interested, or please visit my wildlife gallery. Thank you!

This image is not for sale. Please contact me for commissions if you are interested, or please visit my wildlife gallery. Thank you!

Mel Unger