Black-billed magpie

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Black-billed magpie
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Pica hudsonia

The black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia) is a magpie, a type of songbird. It is a medium-sized member of the crow family with glossy black and white plumage and a black beak. The black-billed magpie lives in North America west of the Appalaches and north of the big Deserts. It can be found in temperate, open landscape. It is an omnivorous species: Insects, carrion and seeds are its main food, but it also takes small vertebrates and eggs. The breeding season of the black-billed magpie starts in May and it takes until the end of June for all chicks to fledge. The birds breed in solitary pairs that stay together for life.[1]

In the genus Pica, the species is closest to the North American yellow-billed magpie (P. nuttalli). Both species share a common ancestor that migrated from Kamtchatka to Alaska some time in the Pleistocene. Black-billed and yellow-billed magpie diverged as a result of the glaciation of the Rocky Mountains. The yellow-billed magpie became isolated in the warm climate of California and adapted to it. The species' population is stable and it is currently not considered as endangered.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Charles H. Trost: Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia). In: A. Poole: The Birds of North America Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca 1999. doi:10.2173/bna.389, downloaded September 23rd, 2012.