Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Near Threatened

White-winged Magpie (Urocissa xanthomelana)


French: Pirolle de Delacour German: Weißflügelkitta Spanish: Urraca aliblanca

Cissopica whiteheadi xanthomelana


, 1927,

Bac Kan, north-eastern Tonkin


Along with U. whiteheadi, sometimes separated in Cissopica. Hitherto treated as conspecific with U. whiteheadi, but differs in its darker, blacker head to back and breast (1); much broader yellowish-white lesser and greater wing-coverts (in fact lesser coverts all yellowish-white, without blackish bases of whiteheadi) (2); black vs grey rectrices (both species with white tips, whiteheadi with black subterminal band) (3); and greater wing length (effect size for males 1.6, although n=8 for both taxa; allow 1). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

S China (S Sichuan, S Yunnan and Guangxi), N Vietnam (W & E Tonkin and N & C Annam) and N & C Laos.

Descriptive notes

43–46 cm; c. 200 g. A bulky-bodied forest magpie with relatively long, strongly graduated tail, central pair of feathers only a little longer than next; bill quite... read more


Commonest call a repeated hoarse, rising “shurreek”. Other calls include a similarly hoarse but... read more


Broadleaf evergreen forest, pine/semi-evergreen forest and forest edge, including heavily logged... read more

Food and feeding

Not well documented. Apparently omnivorous; said to feed on various invertebrates and berries, but no specific information available. Very... read more


Little known. Season Apr–Aug; nest under construction reported from Vietnam in Jul, family group (four adults and one immature) recorded at... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Near Threatened. Locally fairly common. This species’ global population size has not been quantified, but it is likely to be declining moderately... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). White-winged Magpie (Urocissa xanthomelana). 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 23 January 2020).