I think this species is native to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as I see it regularly, especially around the urban locality (Downtown Edmonton).

Season: Early Spring

Date: May 18, 2017

Basic Description: Medium sized bird, and I was not able to observe a characteristic chirp from the bird while I was taking a photograph. Most distinctive feature is the bright royal bluish gradient on the tail and tips of the wings.

Bird Picture ONE

Bird Picture TWO

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ If you were in the UK, you'd now have to say "Good morning Mr Magpie. How is your lady wife today?". It's practically a law. $\endgroup$ – Strawberry May 20 '17 at 13:16

That bird is commonly called a magpie. The only species found in Alberta is Pica hudsonia. You can see a reference image on the left and their distribution throughout Canada on the right:

enter image description here enter image description here


Interestingly, it is one of the only non-mammals studied that is able to recognize itself in a mirror. In fact, these and other corvids are thought to be some of the most intelligent species on Earth.

You mentioned that you didn't hear them chirp. These birds are actually quite loud and about fifty of them used to wake me up every morning. Have a listen (not my video).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your attached video makes me realize how lucky I am to not have heard the bird chirp. $\endgroup$ – Imtiaz Raqib May 20 '17 at 5:18
  • $\begingroup$ @ImtiazRaqib Ha! Just imagine 50 of them on your roof at 6 am ;) $\endgroup$ – canadianer May 20 '17 at 5:20
  • $\begingroup$ A species-id question with no research effort again. :) $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba May 20 '17 at 19:03

It's clearly a magpie, a member of the crow family (Corvidae). There are many magpie species throughout the world, but since you say it's native to Canada, it must be the black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia). There are only two magpie species native to Northern America, the other being the yellow-billed magpie (Pica nuttalli), occuring in California.

enter image description here

Image source:


  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Finally one of these silly questions I could answer and you beat me to it! $\endgroup$ – canadianer May 20 '17 at 1:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.