Black-billed Magpie
(Pica hudsonia)

Summary

Picture of bird
© Alan D. Wilson - License
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Black-billed Magpie is a common and conspicuous resident of open habitats in western and parts of northern Canada. It is well monitored by the Breeding Bird Survey, the results of which indicate a continuing, small negative population trend. However, the population change is still within the bounds considered to be of little overall change. There are no pressing conservation concerns for the species at this time. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.

Designations

Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLittle ChangeHighAt an Acceptable Level
 

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada1,000,000 - 5,000,000 adults
 

Distribution maps

 

Migration strategy, occurrence

Resident

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaModerate

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between late March and late April and ends in early July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.
 

Conservation and management

The Black-billed Magpie has long been vilified for its practice of raiding other birds' nests to eat eggs and nestlings (Trost 1999). Persecuted as "vermin", past attempts to lower magpie populations through bounty schemes and other methods have proven ineffective (Trost 1999) and are no longer practiced.

 

Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Boreal Taiga PlainsBoreal Taiga Plains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Stewardship
Great BasinGreat Basin, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Stewardship
Prairie PotholesPrairie Potholes, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Stewardship
 

References