Yellow-billed Magpie

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Yellow-billed Magpie
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Passeriformes
Family:Corvidae
Genus:Pica
Species:P. nuttalli
Binomial name
Pica nuttalli
(Audubon, 1837)

The Yellow-billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli, is a large bird in the crow family found only in California. It inhabits the Central Valley and the adjacent chaparral foothills and mountains. Apart from its having a yellow bill and a yellow streak around the eye, it is virtually identical to the Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia) found in much of the rest of North America. The latest genetic testing indicates a closer relationship between these two, than to the outwardly very similar Eurasian European Magpie P. pica; the two American forms may actually be one species.

The Yellow-billed Magpie prefers groves of tall trees along rivers and near open areas, though in some cities they have begun to nest in vacant lots and other weedy places. A pair of birds builds a dome-shaped nest with sticks and mud on a high branch. They nest in small colonies. These birds are permanent residents and do not usually wander far outside of their breeding range.

These birds forage on the ground, mainly eating insects, especially grasshoppers, but also carrion, acorns and fruit in fall and winter.

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