Black-billed Magpie

I’ve marveled at photos of others of the flashy Black-billed Magpie.  Not seen on the East Coast, this species is widespread in towns, fields, and stream corridors of the West.

Their bold, contrasting plumage and glossy blue/green iridescence on their wings are unmistakable.  I saw my first Magpie in Utah; and as we moved north on our road trip, they were a common sight to my delight.


Black-billed Magpies are a relative of Jays and Crows but slightly larger.


They’re also vocal birds and keep up a regular stream of raucous calls.


One of the most interesting Black-billed Magpie behaviors is the so-called “funeral”. When one Magpie discovers a demised Magpie, it begins calling loudly to attract other Magpies.  The gathering of raucously-calling Magpies (up to 40 birds have been observed) may last for 10 to 15 minutes before the birds disperse and fly off silently.

Magpies are social, inquisitive birds that eat fruits, grains, insects, and small animals.


On their expeditions, Lewis and Clark reported Magpies boldly entering their tents to steal food.

The Magpie is a beauty in flight as well!





I love photos with fences, so I had to include and share this last photo.


As you know, it is always a delight for me to get to add another lifer to my bird list!    🙂


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