Black-billed Magpie

ID Info
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Black-billed Magpie
Silhouette MagpiesMagpies

Black-billed Magpie

Pica hudsonia
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Corvidae
Basic Description

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.

More ID Info
image of range map for Black-billed MagpieRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

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.

Other Names
  • Urraca de Hudson (Spanish)
  • Pie d'Amérique (French)

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 out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

  • Cool Facts