• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer

Yellow-billed Magpie


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Although the Yellow-billed Magpie is common and conspicuous in the open oak woodlands of central and southern California, it is found nowhere else in the world.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
16.9–21.3 in
43–54 cm
24 in
61 cm
5.3–6 oz
150–170 g
Other Names
  • Pie à bec jaune (French)
  • Urraca (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Yellow-billed Magpie is omnivorous, eating a variety of plant and animal foods. Insects, however, make up most of the diet. The Yellow-billed Magpie has been seen pecking insects off the backs of mule deer.
  • The covered nest requires maintenance to the canopy throughout the nesting season. The Yellow-billed Magpie usually builds a new nest each year, but if a nest fails early in the breeding season the pair will refurbish an old nest for a renesting attempt rather than build a new one.
  • The oldest recorded Yellow-billed Magpie was a female and at least 9 years, 11 months old when she was found in California.


Open Woodland

Oak savanna, open areas with large trees, and along streams. Also forages in grassland, pasture, fields, and orchards.



Ground-dwelling invertebrates, grain, acorns, carrion, and small mammals.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
4–7 eggs
Egg Description
Greenish blue or olive with dark spots and speckles.
Condition at Hatching
Naked and helpless.
Nest Description

Nest a domed bowl, made primarily of sticks and mud. Lined with hair, grass, bark, or rootlets. Placed high in large tree, in small colonies.

Nest Placement



Ground Forager

Forages primarily on ground. Holds food with feet and pecks it.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Yellow-billed Magpie numbers declined bu almost 3% per year between 1966 and 2014, resulting in a cumulative decline of 73%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 90,000 with 100% in the United States. This U.S.-Canada Stewardship species rates a 16 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and are on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action.


Range Map Help

Yellow-billed Magpie Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

You Might Also Like

West Nile virus fells magpies. Story in Living Bird magazine.



Or Browse Bird Guide by Family, Name or Shape
bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. You can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell or give your email address to others.