• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Yellow-billed Magpie - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Doug Greenberg
Paso Robles, California, USA, October 2004
Pica nuttalli


Length 43-54 cm; weight 151-189 g (male), 126-158 g (female)
Yellow bill and bare yellow area of skin behind eye. Large white wing patches and long, wedge-shaped, iridescent greenish-black tail.
Juvenile has blackish beak and lacks bare face patch.

Similar Species

A slightly smaller version of the Black-billed Magpie. Ranges of the two species do not overlap.


Photo by Phil Juvet
Sacramento Mather Airport, California, July 2013

Resident in the Central Valley of California and adjacent foothills.
A restricted-range species, prior to 2004 locally common or abundant. The West Nile virus has reduced the population by around 50%.


This is a monotypic species[1].

It is closely related to Black-billed Magpie and may even be conspecific with the latter.


Oak savannas, oak woods, riverside growth, ranches, and suburbs. With the loss of natural habitats, they have moved to vacant city weedy yards and lots.


A strongly colonial species, they live communally throughout the year, feeding, socializing, and mobbing predators. It has become a city bird but avoids heavily populated areas. However, in some places they obviously do not mind people at all.


Omnivorous. Feeds on insects, mice, bird eggs, nestlings, small reptiles, carrion (especially roadkill) and human handouts.


A raucous qua-qua-qua and a querulous quack.


Breeding season from December to May. They lay 5-8 blotched, olive green eggs in a large, domed stick nest; breeds in colonies in tall trees usually so overgrown with mistletoe that it is often hard to detect the nests.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. 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
  3. The website of everything

Recommended Citation

External Links