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Black-billed Magpie

Pica hudsonia ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: CORVIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Black-billed Magpies are familiar and entertaining birds of western North America. They sit on fenceposts and road signs or flap across rangelands, their white wing patches flashing and their very long tails trailing behind them. This large, flashy relative of jays and crows is a social creature, gathering in numbers to feed at carrion. They’re also vocal birds and keep up a regular stream of raucous or querulous calls.

Be a Better Birder Tutorial 3
Merlin Bird ID app

Songs

Black-billed Magpies are very vocal birds. Their two primary vocalizations are a harsh, ascending call and a raspy chatter.

Calls

Call a harsh, chattering "wock, wock wock-a-wock, wock, pjur, weer, weer."

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

In their range, Black-billed Magpies occasionally visit platform bird feeders and suet feeders. They are fairly common in small towns and may visit large yards.

Find This Bird

Black-billed Magpies are noisy, and they have a habit of sitting very conspicuously at the tops of trees or fenceposts, so they can be easy to hear and see. In flight their trailing tail feathers and bright, flashy white wing patches make them unmistakable. Keep an eye in the air for their graceful, gliding flights across open, brushy areas.