The Yellow-billed magpie is a large and beautiful bird. Its long black tail is iridescent and its wing feathers are shades of blue, green and white. The characteristic that makes them so special is their yellow beak. There is a similar and more wide spread species with a black bill. The yellow billed magpie is found only in California.
They are highly intelligent. Once I was out for a walk and I heard one singing in a pine tree. I thought someone had lost a parrot. They are excellent mimics.
The Yellow-billed magpie nests up high in a tree, usually a valley oak.
The yellow-billed magpie feeds mainly on animal matter, including insects, bird eggs, nestling, and carrion, They will also eat acorns, seeds, grass, and berries. They will also eat poisoned grains left for killing ground California ground squirrels. Large portions of a population get wiped out.
(When my brother and I were little we used to call them maggot pies, because they ate dead things.)
This is a special bird to us, here in California, because it is endemic to this region, that is it is found only here. It inhabits the central valley and coastal valleys of California, preferring open oak woodlands.
The Yellow-billed magpie likes open oak woodlands. They like open areas near roads where ether is plenty of road kill to scavenge.
The Yellow billed magpie likes open oak woodlands near roads with road kill.
The yellow-billed magpie is a resident. They move around some in winter in search of food.
Magpies are not really at home in a garden setting. They need big open spaces with smatterings of trees. Most gardens are to shrubby and dense for their taste. However you might get one stopping by if you have an oak in your yard. They seem to prefer the valley oak, Quercus lobata This may be because this oak like the lower open valleys just like the magpies. These large stately trees are deciduous and they are good near your home. They let in the much needed sun light in the winter and shade your home in the hot summer.