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.
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.
References[change | change source]
- 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.