Wildlife of the Week: Black-billed Magpie

This species of Corvidae have excellent scavenging ability to supplement their vast array of dietary options



The Black-billed Magpie is a member of the Corvidae family.


The Black-billed Magpie is a bird species familiar to any student attending classes at WSU. Placed alongside crows and ravens in the Corvidae family, these birds are incredibly intelligent.

They also fill similar roles to their dark-feathered relatives as generalist scavengers, according to Birds of the World. Using their scavenging ability and wide-ranging diet, they are able to take advantage of resources few animals can human trash.

Magpies are easily able to pick through trash and find edible items to add to their lunches. As a result, one of the most common locations to find a magpie around Pullman is inside a dumpster.

Although trash is on their menu, the magpies’ intelligence is also put to good use when they are on the hunt for a meal. Magpies follow hunters regularly and wait for their success in order to feed on meat scraps, according to Birds of the World.

They seek out dead animals and poke through them for maggots that land on large mammals, including moose and bison, that magpies can pick ticks off of.