Red-billed blue magpie
|Red-billed blue magpie|
The red-billed blue magpie (Urocissa erythroryncha) is a species of bird in the crow family, Corvidae. It is about the same size as the European magpie but has a much longer tail, one of the longest tails of any corvid. It is 65–68 cm (26–27 in) long and weighs 196-232 grams (6.9-8.2 oz).
The head, neck and breast are black with a bluish spotting on the crown. The shoulders and rump are a duller blue and the underparts are a greyish cream. The long tail is a brighter blue (as are the wing primaries) with a broad white tip. The bill is a bright orange-red as are the legs and feet and a ring around the eye. This red can vary across its range to almost yellow in some birds.
Habits and habitat
The red-billed blue magpie occurs in a broad swathe from the northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent, and further eastwards. It ranges from the Western Himalayas eastwards into Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in evergreen forest and scrub in predominantly hilly or mountainous country. They nest in trees and large shrubs in a relatively shallow nest. There are usually three to five eggs laid.
Food is sought both in trees and on the ground. It takes the usual wide range of food, such as invertebrates, other small animals, and fruit and some seeds. It robs nests of eggs and also chicks. Vocal mimicry is very apparent in this species and its calls are very varied, but the most usual are a grating rattle and a high pitched whistle a little like a flute.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Urocissa erythrorhyncha". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Pirolle à bec rouge - (Urocissa erythrorhyncha) Red-billed Blue Magpie" (in French). Oiseaux.net. Retrieved 28 March 2011.