The iridescent colors of a Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed MagpieBlack-billed Magpie – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Most of the time Black-billed Magpies look like they are just black and white but if the bird’s pose and the light is just right there can be a wonderful flash of iridescent blue, green, teal, gold and even hints of purple.

Yesterday this Black-billed Magpie turned in flight while I was photographing it which allowed me a great dorsal view that showed the iridescent colors well. I do wish the out of focus bush hadn’t been in the frame or that it had been sharply in focus but I couldn’t resist sharing the image because of the beautiful colors.


The background in this image is the frozen water of the Great Salt Lake

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Stunning capture, Mia! Probably once in a life time.

  2. Lovely colors and capture!

  3. Gorgeous image, Mia! The iridescent colors are stunning!

  4. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    You surely have made us aware of this magnificent bird…. It reminds me of the reflective quality of all feathers … and some birds are truly stunning… But who would have ever imaginged a Black-billed Magpie would be in that number. Many thanks.

  5. Mia, you do that species proud! Best magpie photography anywhere!

  6. Absolutely stunning.

  7. Mia, you have outdone yourself (if that is possible)! I have yet to see a Magpie in North America, but have seen their almost identical relative in France and elsewhere in Europe, where they are a fixture in many urban parks. Once again, great shot!

  8. Wow! Is all I can say Mia. The iridescence, the pose and you even got the catch light. Gorgeous.

  9. Not only the colors but that they actually can look graceful in their flight. Not a bird I’m fond of but you are certainly showing a different side to them.

  10. Natural as your photos Mia, this is one of them.

  11. ohhhh! !! so wonderfull
    one day, i would like to get a same oportunity to shot, but not to fast, just the time necessary to wait ^_^
    thanks a lot for sharing it mia ☺

  12. You nailed it Mia, gorgeous photo:)

  13. Wow,that is gorgeous Mia. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work. Should I call it work? :-)

  14. This is so gorgeous it looks like a painting or water-colour. The OOF bush doesn’t bother me.

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