Iberian magpie

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Iberian magpie
Blauelester donana.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Genus: Cyanopica
C. cooki
Binomial name
Cyanopica cooki
(Bonaparte, 1850)

Cyanopica cyana cooki
Cyanopica cyanus cooki

The Iberian magpie (Cyanopica cooki) is a bird in the crow family. It is 31–35 cm long and similar in overall shape to the Eurasian magpie (Pica pica) but is more slender with proportionately smaller legs and bill. It belongs to the genus Cyanopica.


Other common names include Iberian azure-winged magpie,[2] Cook's azure-winged magpie, and Spanish azure-winged magpie.[3]


It has a glossy black top to the head and a white throat. The underparts and the back are a light grey-fawn in colour with the wings and the feathers of the long (16–20 cm) tail are an azure blue.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Iberian magpie occurs in southwestern and central parts of the Iberian Peninsula, in Spain and Portugal. However, it can sometimes be spotted also in south-western France,[4] and recently its presence has been reported even in north-western Italy.[5] It inhabits various types of coniferous (mainly pine) and broadleaf forest, including parks and gardens in the eastern populations.


This taxon is sometimes treated as conspecific with the azure-winged magpie (C. cyana), but this population is 5400 miles (9,000 km) away from those in eastern Asia.[3] Genetic analyses have suggested that Iberian and azure-winged magpies are distinct at species level.[6][7]

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

Often Iberian magpies find food as a family group or several groups making flocks of up to 70 birds. The largest groups congregate after the breeding season and throughout the winter months. Their diet consists mainly of acorns (oak seeds) and pine nuts, extensively supplemented by invertebrates and their larvae, soft fruits and berries, and also human-provided scraps in parks and towns.

This species usually nests in loose, open colonies with a single nest in each tree,[8] same Mean clutch size is 6.2 eggs, but only 32% of nesting attempts are successful, with an average 5.1 young fledged.[9]


  1. ^ BirdLife International. 2017. Cyanopica cooki (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22732302A112290599. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T22732302A112290599.en. Downloaded on 20 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Cyanopica cooki". Avibase.
  3. ^ a b Handbook of the Birds of the World vol 12. p. 598.
  4. ^ "Iberian Magpie". oiseaux-birds.
  5. ^ "Gazze aliazzurre in Lombardia". YouTube.
  6. ^ Fok, Koon Wah; Wade, Christopher M.; Parkin, David T. (2002). "Inferring the phylogeny of disjunct populations of the azure-winged magpie Cyanopica cyanus from mitochondrial control region sequences". Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B. 269 (1501): 1671–1678. doi:10.1098/rspb.2002.2057. PMC 1691084. PMID 12204127.
  7. ^ Kryukov, A.; Iwasa, M. A.; Kakizawa, R.; Suzuki, H.; Pinsker, W.; Haring, E. (November 2004). "Synchronic east-west divergence in azure-winged magpies (Cyanopica cyanus) and magpies (Pica pica)". Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 42 (4): 342–351. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0469.2004.00287.x.
  8. ^ Alonso, J.A.; Muñoz-Pulido, R.; Bautista, L.M.; Alonso, J.C. (1991). "Nest-site selection and nesting success in the azure-winged magpies Cyanopica cyana in central Spain" (PDF). Bird Study. 38: 45–51. doi:10.1080/00063659109477066.
  9. ^ Muñoz-Pulido, R.; Bautista, L.M.; Alonso, J.C.; Alonso, J.A. (1990). "Breeding success of azure-winged magpies Cyanopica cyana in central Spain" (PDF). Bird Study. 37: 111–114. doi:10.1080/10.1080/00063659009477046.