Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Red-billed Blue Magpie (Urocissa erythroryncha)


French: Pirolle à bec rouge German: Rotschnabelkitta Spanish: Urraca piquirroja

Corvus erythrorynchus


, 1783,

Canton (Guangzhou), south China


Species name often misspelt erythrorhyncha. Race alticola initially described under name caerulea, but preoccupied. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • U. e. occipitalis (Blyth, 1846) – NW India (from Jammu and vicinity of Kangra, in Himachal Pradesh) E to extreme E Nepal.
  • U. e. magnirostris (Blyth, 1846) – NE India (S of R Brahmaputra) E across Myanmar and Thailand to NW Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
  • U. e. alticola Birckhead, 1938 – S China (NW & N Yunnan) and adjacent N Myanmar.
  • U. e. brevivexilla Swinhoe, 1874 – E China (from SE Inner Mongolia and W Liaoning S to S Gansu, S Ningxia, Shanxi and Hebei).
  • U. e. erythroryncha (Boddaert, 1783) – C, S & SE China (including Hainan).
  • Descriptive notes

    53–68 cm; male 145–192 g, female 106–155 g. Highly distinctive blue magpie with exceptionally long, strongly graduated, sweeping white-spotted tail, central... read more


    Noisy. Presence often first indicated by contact call, a loud, ringing, almost metallic "penk-... read more


    Tropical and subtropical broadleaf evergreen forest in Himalayan foothills; elsewhere in hill... read more

    Food and feeding

    Omnivorous, but mainly carnivorus. Recorded prey items include wide variety of larger invertebrates, especially beetles (Coleoptera),... read more


    Eggs reported Apr–Jun in India, Mar–Jun in Myanmar, Apr in S China and Jun in N China. Generally considered solitary breeder,... read more


    Mainly sedentary, but moves higher into montane forests in summer. One reported in Jun 1979 at... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and locally common over most of extensive range. In extreme NE of range in China, said to be distinctly uncommon in Liaoning and Jilin; on... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. (2020). Red-billed Blue Magpie (Urocissa erythroryncha). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 January 2020).