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White-winged Magpie - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: White-winged Blue Magpie; Whitehead's Magpie

Subspecies xanthomelana
Photo by paux
Nongang, Guangxi, China, October 2017
Urocissa whiteheadi


Photo by paux
Nongang, Guangxi, China, October 2017

43 - 46cm (17-18 in). A bulky-bodied, distinctive forest magpie.

  • Sooty brown head, neck and breast
  • Greyish underparts, shading into pale yellowish on belly and undertail-coverts
  • Blackish upperparts, yellowish rump and greyish uppertail-coverts
  • Upperwings boldly patterned white to yellowish-white on blackish background
  • White lesser and median coverts, forming a band along leading edge of wing
  • Long, largely black tail with grey central feathers and all feathers with yellow-white or white tips
  • Heavy red bill
  • Pale yellow eye, brownish-green bare eye patch
  • Black legs

Sexes similar. Juveniles have yellowish-grey head and brownish eye.


Found in South China (including Hainan) to Laos and northern Vietnam.
On the mainland still quite common but rare on Hainan.



Two subspecies recognized[1]:

  • U. w. whiteheadi on Hainan
  • U. w. xanthomelana in most of its range


Tropical broadleaf evergreen forest. Also in secondary forest and edges of cultivation. Occurs from 50m up to 1400m.



Diet little known. Feeds apparently on invertebrates and berries.
A very sociable species. Moves through the forest in large groups of 20 or more birds.


Breeding little known. One described nest was a concave platform which contained 6 eggs.


A resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  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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