Yellow-Billed Magpie

Pica nutalli

Not as well known in North America as its “Black-Billed” cousins, these birds are exclusive to California’s Central Valley and central coast mountains. Science believes this bird’s ancestors were separated from Asian ancestors that crossed the Bering Straights and later became isolated from its fellow immigrating cousins by glaciation and uplift in the ancient Sierra Nevada Mountains, developing independently into its own species.

The numbers of Yellow-Billed Magpies have declined by over 73% since 1966, meaning they are at risk of extinction without conservation measures. The reasons for this decline are not well understood, but loss of habitat, rodent poisoning, and the West Nile virus have taken a toll on these birds.

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