Azure-winged Magpies

The Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana) is a bird in the crow family. It belongs to the monotypical genus Cyanopica.

Description

It is 31-35 cm long and similar in overall shape to the European Magpie (Pica pica) but is more slender with proportionately smaller legs and bill.

It has a glossy black top to the head and a white throat. The underparts and the back are a light grey-fawn in colour with the wings and the feathers of the long (16–20 cm) tail are an azure blue.

Distribution / Range

It occurs in two population groups separated by a huge geographical region between. One population lives in Western Europe, specifically the southwestern part of the Iberian Peninsula, in Spain and Portugal. The other population occurs over a much larger region of eastern Asia in most of China, Korea, Japan, and north into Mongolia.

Recent genetic analysis has shown that the two populations are distinct at species level , under which the Iberian Azure-winged Magpie would take the name Cyanopica cooki, though this change has yet to be formally incorporated in the European bird list.

It inhabits various types of coniferous (mainly pine) and broadleaf forest, including parks and gardens in the eastern populations.

Azure-winged Magpie
Azure-winged Magpie Nest

Diet / Feeding

Often Azure-winged Magpies find food as a family group or several groups making flocks of up to 70 birds. The largest groups congregate after the breeding season and throughout the winter months.

Their diet consists mainly of acorns (oak seeds) and pine nuts, extensively supplemented by invertebrates and their larvae, soft fruits and berries, and also human-provided scraps in parks and towns.

Nesting / Breeding

This species usually nests in loose, open colonies with a single nest in each tree. There are usually between 6–8 eggs that are incubated for 15 days.

Calls / Vocalizations

The voice is a quick fired and metallic sounding kwink-kwink-kwink usually preceded by a single krarrah.

Azure-winged Magpie
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)
Juvenile Azure-winged Magpie

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