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Sri Lanka Blue Magpie - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Steve G
Sinharaja Rain Forest Reserve, Sri Lanka, July 2009

Alternative names: Sri Lanka Magpie; Ceylon Magpie

Urocissa ornata


40 - 47cm. An unmistakable forest magpie:

  • Blue plumage
  • Chestnut head and wings
  • Long blue tail with white tips
  • Red bill and legs
  • Brown eye with red orbital ring

Sexes are similar. Juveniles are duller than adults.


Endemic to Sri Lanka.
A locally fairly common restricted-range species. Fragmentation of its habitat and the increase of the Common Koel (a nest parasite) are a threat for this species.


This is a monotypic species.


Dense wet evergreen temperate rain forest. Occurs from 50m up to 2100m.


A rather shy species which may be difficult to observe.
Forages singly or in small parties. Outside the breeding season also i mixed flocks with Ashy-headed Laughingthrushes.
The diet includes small frogs, lizards, insects and other invertebrates, also fruit.
Breeding season from January to March. Both sexes build a cup-shaped stick nest in a tree or shrub. 3–5 white heavily spotted with brown eggs are laid. Only the female incubating the eggs but both parents care for the young.
A resident species.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507

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