Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)


Yellow-billed Magpie (Pica nutalli)


French: Pie à bec jaune German: Gelbschnabelelster Spanish: Urraca de Nuttall

Corvus nutalli


, 1837,

Santa Barbara, California, USA


Differs very weakly genetically from P. hudsonia and very possibly merits reunification with that species and also with P. pica#R. Differs, however, from hudsonia in its yellow bill and variable yellow area around eye (3); somewhat different voice, with shorter upslurred whine-call (1) and slightly higher-pitched chatter-call (1)#R; smaller size (at least 1), although S populations of hudsonia “are, on average, smaller and smaller-billed than northern birds and tend to show a small patch of bare skin around the eye, thus approaching [nutalli] in appearance”#R; and more colonial habit (1). Lack of internal information in original description means spelling cannot be emended to nuttalli#R. Monotypic.

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

California W of Sierra Nevada Mts (Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, and valleys of S Coast Ranges), in SW USA.

Descriptive notes

43–54 cm; male 151–189 g, female 126–158 g. A medium-sized black-and-white corvid with long, graduated tail and yellow bill; most black areas strongly... read more


Not well studied. Stacatto, harsh “chatter” alarm call similar to that of P.... read more


Oak (Quercus) savanna where large trees are scattered among broad expanses of open... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivorous. Eats grasshoppers (Orthoptera), Lepidoptera, bees, ants and wasps (Hymenoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), true bugs (Hemiptera),... read more


Nest-building from late Dec to Mar, egg-laying mid Mar to early May. Monogamous, apparently lifelong pair-bond. Male and some females... read more


Resident. Most juveniles not seen after they disperse, but a few males known to have obtained... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Previously considered Near Threatened. Restricted-range species: present in California EBA. Inhabits area of c. 240 x 800 km of bottomland and adjacent low... read more

Recommended citation

Marzluff, J. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Yellow-billed Magpie (Pica nutalli). 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 15 December 2019).