Yellow-billed blue magpie

   ›      ›   Yellow-billed blue magpie - Urocissa flavirostris

The yellow-billed blue magpie (Urocissa flavirostris), also known as gold-billed magpie, belongs to the family Corvidae.

The yellow-billed blue magpie is distributed in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Vietnam and China. This magpie species is an arboreal bird with long tail feathers. This magpie is a polytypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Yellow-billed Blue Magpie Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The yellow-billed blue magpie (Urocissa flavirostris) is a medium-sized magpie, measuring 55 to 60 cm in length and weighing 120 to 180 grams.

The yellow-billed blue magpie has a black hood and a pale bluish patch on the nape. The throat, upper breast and neck are black. The upperparts are blue. The underparts are whitish.

The long tail is strongly graduated and the long tail feathers have whitish tips. The central pair of rectrices have a black band in front of the white tips. The flight feathers are tipped white.

The bill is stout and colored pale yellow. The irises are blackish. There is a gray eye-ring. The legs and feet are pinkish yellow. Their call is a loud, fluty sound.
Indian birds - Photo of Yellow-billed blue magpie - Urocissa flavirostris
1.Birds of India - Photo of Yellow-billed blue magpie - Urocissa flavirostris by Dibyendu Ash

Birds of India - Photo of Yellow-billed blue magpie - Urocissa flavirostris
2.Indian birds - Photo of Yellow-billed blue magpie - Urocissa flavirostris by Lip Kee

Indian birds - Photo of Yellow-billed blue magpie - Urocissa flavirostris
3.Birds of India - Photo of Yellow-billed blue magpie - Urocissa flavirostris by Rakesh Kumar Dogra

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The yellow-billed blue magpie species are distributed in north Pakistan, Himalayan India, Nepal, Bhutan, northeast India, Myanmar, northern Vietnam and southern China (Yunnan).

In India, they are distributed in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, northern West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram.

The yellow-billed blue magpie nominate subspecies U. f. flavirostris is distributed in east Nepal, Bhutan, northeast India, north Myanmar and China. The subspecies U. f. schaeferi occurs in west Myanmar.

The yellow-billed blue magpie subspecies U. f. cucullata occurs in Pakistan, northwest India and west Nepal. The subspecies U. f. robini is distributed in extreme north Vietnam.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of these yellow-billed blue magpie species in Nepal are, Tamur valley, Rara National Park, Mai Valley, Phulchoki Mountain forests, Sagarmatha National Park, Langtang National Park, Khaptad National Park and Annapurna and Kanchenjunga Conservation Areas.

Ecosystem and habitat

The yellow-billed blue magpie species have moderate forest dependence. They normally occur in altitudes from 1600 to 2700 meters.

The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these species include agricultural lands, plantations and heavily degraded tropical and subtropical forests.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these yellow-billed blue magpie species include tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests, foothill forests, temperate forests and moist montane forests.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of this yellow-billed blue magpie species consists mainly of invertebrates. Insects, small mammals, eggs and hatchlings of birds, wild fruits and berries are their primary food.

These magpies are mostly arboreal and sometimes they feed on the ground by adopting a hopping gait, with the tail held high.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these yellow-billed blue magpie species is from April to July in most of their breeding range. These species are monogamous and territorial.

The nesting sites include fork of tree branches. The magpie nest is a cup of twigs and sticks, lined with grass, rootlets and plant fiber. The clutch contains 3-4 pale colored eggs, with small specks, blotches and streaks.

Migration and movement patterns

These yellow-billed blue magpie species are non-migratory resident birds. The populations in higher altitudes descend to lower levels in winter.

Post breeding, the juvenile magpies may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. Within their range they may make local movements for feeding and breeding.

Yellow-billed blue magpie - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Urocissa flavirostris
  • Species author: (Blyth, 1846)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Psilorhinus flavirostris Blyth, 1846
  • Family: Corvidae › Passeriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Yellow-billed blue magpie, Chinese: 黄嘴蓝鹊, French: Pirolle à bec jaune, German: Gelbschnabelkitta, Spanish: Urraca piquigualda, Russian: Желтоклювая лазоревая сорока, Japanese: キバシサンジャク
  • Other names: Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, gold-billed magpie
  • Distribution: Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Vietnam, China
  • Diet and feeding habits: invertebrates, small vertebrates, fruits, berries
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the yellow-billed blue magpie (Urocissa flavirostris) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of the species is considered to be stable.

In most of its range, this magpie species is reported to be fairly common or locally common (Madge and Burn 1993). The generation length is 6.7 years. Its distribution size is about 1,730,000

Habitat alteration, human disturbance and deforestation are the main threats that are endangering the survival of this magpie species.

IUCN and CITES status

The yellow-billed blue magpie (Urocissa flavirostris) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the magpie species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the yellow-billed blue magpie (Urocissa flavirostris).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Urocissa flavirostris
Species:U. flavirostris
Binomial name:Urocissa flavirostris
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The yellow-billed blue magpie (Urocissa flavirostris) is closely related to red-billed blue magpie (Urocissa erythroryncha) and Taiwan magpie (Urocissa caerulea).

The four recognized subspecies of the yellow-billed blue magpie (Urocissa flavirostris) are:
U. f. flavirostris (Blyth, 1846),
U. f. cucullata Gould, 1861,
U. f. robini Delacour & Jabouille, 1930 and
U. f. schaeferi Sick, 1939.
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1.Photo source: (cropped)
Photo author: Dibyendu Ash | License: CC BY-SA 3.0 as on 7/15/18
2.Photo source: (cropped)
Photo author: Lip Kee | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 as on 7/15/18
3.Photo source: (cropped)
Photo author: Rakesh Kumar Dogra | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 7/15/18
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