Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Black-billed Magpie Pica pica

Black-billed Magpie Pica pica

The large, black-and-white Black-billed Magpie has a remarkable tail—longer than its body—that streams behind the bird in flight. This species is similar to the Yellow-billed Magpie (P. nuttalli), which occurs only in central and southern California. The latter can be distinguished by its yellow bill and a patch of bare yellow skin just below the eye. Black-billed Magpies, like most members of the crow family, are omnivorous scavengers.

Identification 18-22". Black above and white below, with white wing patch and shoulders visible in flight. Tail long; appears tapered in flight. Bill dark.

Black-billed Magpie Pica pica Voice A high, nasal mag? and a harsh check-check-check.

Black-billed Magpie Pica pica Habitat Open countryside, savanna, brushy areas, and streamside thickets.

Range Breeds from S. Alaska through British Columbia and east to Manitoba, south to east-central California and Nebraska. Mostly nonmigratory; some wander north and east of range in fall and winter.

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