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Black-billed Magpie - Pica hudsonia

Black-billed Magpie
Characteristics

Range
Habitat
Diet
Life Cycle
Behavior

 Classification
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Passeriformes
 Family: Corvidae
 Genus: Pica


Black Billed Magpie


ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least Concern Least Concern
    Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Andrew Spencer cc logo
  Characteristics
Black Billed MagpieThe black-billed magpie is 17-21 inches in length. It has a black head, chest, back, and tail and a white belly and shoulder patches. It has an extremely long,  iridescent green tail and a thick, slightly curved black bill. It has white patches on its wings that can be seen when it is in flight. The magpie gets its name from its  "mag, mag, mag" call. Males and females look alike.

  Range

mapThe black-billed magpie is found in the western United States and Canada from southern Alaska to northern Alberta, central Manitoba, and western Ontario south to northeastern and east-central California and south-central Nevada, across to western and northeastern Oklahoma..

  Habitat
The black-billed magpie prefers open areas with short vegetation and patches of trees and bushes. It can be found in pastures, fields, grasslands, prairies, streamside thickets, and forest edges. It can also be found up to timberline in mountainous areas.

  Diet

Black Billed MagpieThe black-billed magpie is an omnivore. It usually forages on the ground for for insects. It also eats slugs, snails, millipedes, spiders, fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, birds, eggs, carrion, seeds, and fruit. The black-billed magpie even lands on large mammals like deer and moose and pick the ticks off of them. Some of the ticks are eaten, others are stored for later use!

  Life Cycle
Black Billed MagpieDuring the fall and winter, males and females form pairs. During courtship, the male brings food to the female. Both the male and female build the nest, which can take as long as six weeks to construct. It is a mud bowl lined with grass and surrounded by a stick dome with two entrances. It is usually located a few feet to 25 feet above the ground in a tree or thorny bush. The female lays four to nine eggs and incubates them. The male brings her food while she is incubating the eggs. The chicks hatch in 16-21 days and fledge when they are 25-29 days old. The male protects the nest and helps feed the chicks. Black-billed magpie pairs may mate for life.

  Behavior
The black-billed magpie is non-migratory, although it sometimes wanders into other areas during breeding season.

 



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