Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Yellow-billed magpie

Pica nuttalli

Photo by Linda Tanner (Wikipedia)

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

The yellow-billed magpie is endemic to California, being found in the Central Valley and the adjacent chaparral foothills and mountains.

These birds are 43-54 cm long and have a wingspan of 55-65 cm. They weigh 150-170 g.

They are mostly found in open oak savanna, and in places where riverside groves of oaks, cottonwoods, and sycamores border on open country such as pastures or farmland. They are also found in ranch houses and sometimes in coastal scrub.

The yellow-billed magpie is omnivorous, mostly foraging on the ground for grasshoppers and other insects, acorns, fruits and carrion. They sometimes also hunt small rodents and visit landfills to feed on garbage.

They nest in small colonies, with each pair cooperating to build the nest. the nest is a bulky domed structure with a side entrance, made of sticks, twigs and mud, and lined with fine plant materials. There the female lays 5-8 olive-buff eggs, which are incubated by the female alone for 18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 30 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single clutch per year.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species as a relatively large breeding range and a global population estimated at 180.000 individuals. The population has had a stable trend over the last four decades and it is thus not considered threatened.

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