Birds of Morni: Red-billed Blue Magpie

November 18, 2011

Red-billed Blue Magpie (Urocissa erythrorhyncha) is a magpie with the longest tail in the crow family. The bird is over two feet in length and weighs nearly a quarter of a kilogram. 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. The bird is found in the Himalayas, 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.Its calls are loud and varied including a high pitched flute-like whistle.

Red-billed Blue Magpie

Red-billed Blue Magpie: Holding the Catch

Red-billed Blue Magpie: The Long Tail

Filed in: Birds

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An environmental enthusiast who loves tramping through the hills in search of the picturesque.

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