Black-billed Magpie

Pica hudsonia




Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Green gray marked with brown

Number of Eggs:

7 - 13

Incubation Days:

16 - 21

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

2 - 30 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Made of sticks, mud, and thorny material.





Black-billed Magpie: Large, noisy, black and white jay with very long tail and dark, stout bill. Wings and tail are iridescent blue and green-black. Sexes are similar.

Range and Habitat

Black-billed Magpie: Resident from southern Alaska to western and central Canada south to northern California and west through the Great Plains. In winter months, it may travel as far east as Ontario and Minnesota. Its preferred habitats include open woodlands, savannas, brush-covered country, and stream sides.

Breeding and Nesting

Black-billed Magpie: Seven to thirteen brown marked, green gray eggs are laid in a neat cup nest within a large, bulky, domed structure of strong, often thorny twigs, with a double entrance, in a tree or bush. Incubation ranges from 16 to 21 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Black-billed Magpie: Eats insects and carrion; also picks ticks off backs of elk, deer, and livestock. Forages on the ground by walking or hopping; when plentiful, food is cached.

Readily Eats


Feeder Type

Suet cake feeder, Platform feeder


Black-billed Magpie: Emits a rapid, nasal "mag mag mag" or "yak yak yak."

Similar Species

Black-billed Magpie: Yellow-billed Magpie is smaller and has a yellow bill and yellow patch of bare skin below or around the eye.

Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X