Tag Archives: Yellow-billed Blue Magpie

Yellow-billed Blue Magpie in Bhutan

I have written before about the Red-billed Blue Magpies at my workplace here. Their close relatives are the Yellow-billed Blue Magpies (Urocissa flavirostris). The most prominent difference is the colour of their bills. They are also a bit smaller, the blue plumage a little duller, and a smaller white nape patch. They both belong to the crow and jays family, whose members are generally considered the most intelligent birds, and among the most intelligent animals.

The Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, also called the Gold-billed Magpie is a species commonly found throughout the Himalayas, and in some places, co-exist with the Red-billed Blue Magpies. However in Bhutan, only the Yellow-billed Blue Magpie can be found.

On the first day of my trip, I managed to hear and then see 2-3 of them flying up the trees at the hotel where I was staying. Throughout the entire trip, I would see them quite often mostly in a group, but opportunities to photograph them well was rarer. These birds are really intelligent. Once we sighted them on a low branch somewhere and stop our car, they will very soon just fly a little downhill, out of sight. Remember than Bhutan is really mountainous and the roads all go through them, so there is always a slope downhill everywhere we go. So just like the Blue Whistling Thrush (where one is present in every few turns of a road), these common birds were not so easy to photograph after all.

But of course there were one or two encounters that were more productive so below are some photos of them.


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