Saturday, 6 September 2014

Taiwan magpie

Urocissa caerulea

Photo by R.S. Chiou (Flickr)

Common name:
Taiwan magpie (en); pega-da-Formosa (pt); pirolle de Taïwan (fr); urraca de Formosa (es); dickschnabelkitta (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

This species is endemic to Taiwan, being found throughout most of the island with the exception of the western coast and the central mountains.

These birds are 63-68 cm long, including the 40 cm long tail. They weigh 250-260 g.

The Taiwan magpie is found in moist broadleaved forests, at altitudes of 300-1.200 m.

They are omnivorous, taking a wide range of invertebrates but also various berries and figs.

Taiwan magpies breed in May-July. They are monogamous and show cooperative breeding, with several helpers, presumably young from the previous year, helping the breeding pair raise the new clutch. Both sexes participate in building the nest, a bowl made of twigs and other plant material which is usually placed is a tree branch located high in the canopy. The female lays 3-8 olive-green eggs with dark brown markings which she incubates alone for 17-19 days. The chicks fledge about 30 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is reported to be not uncommon, with a very rough estimate placing the population size in the range of 100-100.000 breeding pairs. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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