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Yellow-billed Blue Magpie

Yellow-billed Blue Magpie
Photo Information
Copyright: Ram Thakur (ramthakur) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4316 W: 231 N: 14052] (56953)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-02-25
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D200, Sigma 70-300 4-5.6 APO DG MACRO, 58mm UV
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/320 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Blue Things II [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-03-05 4:59
Viewed: 5655
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Friends, I take a quantum jump in my travalogue on my visit to my native place in the Western Himalayas.
On the 25th of February, I was in my ancestral village in connection with some important work. The place I call 'my village' is, actually, a small town and not a real village. Four of us brothers migrated to this 'town' more than half a century ago. However, a brother just younger to me still lives in the ancestral village where we have quite a few apple plantations.(See Workshop to view the village)

On the morning of 25th, I took a round of my brother's apple plantation next to his house and saw a bevy of Yellow-billed Blue Magpies flitting from one tree to the other. They are a noisy lot and when I approached them, they shied away from me, keeping a distance of at least 20-25 meters. I chased them all around and took numerous shots with my 70-300mm lens. The light was somewhat tricky and I was able to get very few passable pictures of this bird. I am posting one such picture today. Hope you find it of some interest.

Here is a note on Corvidae in general:

The Gold-billed Magpie or Yellow-billed Blue Magpie (Urocissa flavirostris) is a passerine bird in the crow family, Corvidae.

Corvidae is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs and nutcrackers.The common English name used is corvids (more technically) or the crow family (more informally), and there are over 120 species. The genus Corvus, including the crows and ravens, makes up over a third of the entire family.

They are considered the most intelligent of the birds having demonstrated self-awareness in mirror tests (European Magpies) and tool making ability (Crows) — skills until recently regarded as solely the province of humans and a few other higher mammals. They are medium to large in size, with strong feet and bills, rictal bristles and a single moult each year (most passerines moult twice).

Corvids are found worldwide except for the tip of South America and the polar ice caps. The majority of the species are found in tropical South and Central America, southern Asia and Eurasia, with fewer than 10 species each in Africa, Australasia and North America. The genus Corvus has re-entered Australia in relatively recent geological prehistory, with five species and one subspecies there.

Systematics, Taxonomy and Evolution

Over the years there has been much disagreement on the exact evolutionary relationships of the corvid family and their relatives. What eventually seemed clear was that corvids are derived from Australasian ancestors and from there spread throughout the world. Other lineages derived from these ancestors evolved into ecologically diverse, but often Australasian groups. Sibley and Ahlquist united the corvids with other taxa in the Corvida. The presumed corvid relatives included currawongs, birds of paradise, whipbirds, quail-thrushes, whistlers, monarch flycatchers and drongos, shrikes, vireos and vangas,but current research favors the theory that this grouping is partly artificial. The corvids constitute the core group of the Corvoidea, together with their closest relatives (the birds of paradise, Australian mud-nesters and shrikes). They are also the core group of the Corvida, which includes the related groups, such as orioles and vireos.

Clarification of the interrelationships of the corvids has been achieved based on cladistic analysis of several DNA sequences. The jays and magpies do not constitute monophyletic lineages, but rather seem to split up into an American and Old World lineage, and an Holarctic and Oriental lineage, respectively. These are not closely related among each other. The position of the Azure-winged Magpie, which has always been a major enigma, is even more unclear than it was before.



maurydv, cloud, sranjan, siggi, Noisette, matatur, valy67, eqshannon, haraprasan, bobcat08, iris has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

hello Ram
beatiful bird
great picture and beautiful colours
with nice details of the bird
greeting lou

Hello Ram,
a beautiful capture of Yellow-billed Blue Magpie taken with good sharpness in a nice pose on the branches, bright colours and wonderful long tail of the bird, well composed.
Best regards.

Hello Ram,
Just when I thought I must know every species there is you pull this one out of the hat,so to speak ;)
What a spectacular looking Magpie,so very different to our monotone ones.
Yours are shy,but ours will attack people without fear!
I also like your picture of your village.
It is on such a steep hillside.I think I would always be worried about landslides if I lived there!
Thanks for showing us these wonders from your part of the world.

  • Great 
  • viv Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 292 W: 3 N: 653] (3317)
  • [2009-03-05 7:32]

Hello Ram,
What a very special magpie so colourfull, sharp and a very nice POV.

  • Great 
  • cloud Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 497 W: 111 N: 1535] (9539)
  • [2009-03-05 7:33]

Hello Ram,
Your Magpie is for me very exotic. It have beautiful and colourful plumage. I'm curious if this bird have the same habits as this which live in my country. I've posted also Magpie from my countryside.
Regards, Pawel

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-03-05 8:08]

Hello Ram,
A wonderful posting, both of this yellow-billed Magpie and to show us what a wonderful area to have your family roots.
The magpie is taken from a fine lateral POV with excellent sharpness and lighting that show its features, including the striking yellow bill and the fine blue feathers of its wings. It is well seen among the branches of this apple tree.
Thanks for sharing this,
All the best,

Dear Ram Sir,
You got this "Yellow-billed Blue Magpie" in the most magnificent way it should be framed. I had been trying to get it in Himalayas but my all efforts were in vain. Superb shot with excellent details & sharpness. Very many thanks for sharing this beauty. They call me back in the high mountains……… :)

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-03-05 9:52]

Hello Ram,
that is a fantastic shot, good composition and excellent sharpness, great pose and eye contact, beautiful vivid colors, very good depth of field and terrific details.
Best regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-03-05 10:11]

Hello Ram,
Beautiful photo of this Blue Magpie. Nice colours, good sharpness, composition and POV.

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2009-03-05 11:26]

Hi Ram,
What a long tail:)I liked framing,catchlight in eyes,details and expression on face a lot.Have a great day!
Thanks for posting.

Hello Ram
your magpie have beautiful colors, i like his black head, his blue wings and his long black and white tail
the shot is well composed with great BG
your ancestral village is very beautiful
greetings Jacqueline

Merhaba Ram,
Thank you indeed for this beautiful reproduction of a colorful Magpie in its environment, much different and more colourful from our black and white magpies, and also for the detailed notes my friend, much appreciated.

  • Great 
  • valy67 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1727 W: 59 N: 3060] (9219)
  • [2009-03-05 13:30]

Hello Ram !
Wow, you have wonderful visitors in your apple trees - I wish we had the same in France ! :-) And then there is this WS picture, absolutely breathtaking, I would DREAM to live in such a place ! Coming back to your Magpie, I must admit she is much more colorful and beautiful than our Franch magpies (but in France they are not so shy.) Thank you for sharing these two wonderful posts.
Warm greetingsd from France,

The blue colourings on the bird drew me in even though it was line up and last...I love it Ram...My book on wilderness living is almost complete..I invite you to look at form for its location and see what you think..and add that part..as a part of my request that you keep on with your most well taught words.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-03-05 18:44]

Hi Ram,
excellent shot of the bird in its graphical surroundings.
Lovely colours and pleasant composition.
The lines on the feathers of the wing is so beautiful and clear.
Really a well captured shot.


Hi Mr. Ram,
A nice capture of this beautiful Yellow-billed Blue Magpie which is a new species for me. Superb composition and sharp details even if lots of branches. Simply superb. Thanks a lot for sharing.


Hello Ram,

What a beautiful colored bird. And what a long tail. Amazing. Very nice compo. Perfect POV, DOF and BG. Natural colors. Razorsharp. Interesting notes about this MAGPIE.

Thanks for sharing. Kind regards and TFS BOB

  • Great 
  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2009-03-15 22:22]

Hello Sir,
Now this is indeed of interest ..a bird so beautiful to look at.I think after seeing Treepies, one would certainly admire these birds for the lovely and rich blue colour they sport.

The impressive characteristic tail is very well there.I guess they keep fidgeting and moving from one point to the other making it difficult to photograph.But you show this fine specimen in good sharpness and clarity.I like the cute little tuft of hair on the plumage that is blowing in the wind or has risen up as a result of its own motion.Despite the branches that are spread across the frame,the bird stands out in detail.The vertical composition fits very well here.

Thanks for sharing (this new bird to me) Cheers

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