Iridescent colors of a Black-billed Magpie

/, Black-billed Magpies, Davis County, Utah/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


  1. Hilke Breder March 8, 2013 at 4:51 am

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

    • Mia McPherson March 9, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Thank you Hilke, they are gorgeous birds.

  2. Eileen March 8, 2013 at 4:45 am

    Lovely colors and capture!

    • Mia McPherson March 9, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Thank you very much Eileen.

  3. Julie G. March 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm


  4. Prairie Birder March 7, 2013 at 12:16 am

    So pretty!

  5. Tammy Karr March 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Gorgeous image, Mia! The iridescent colors are stunning!

  6. Merrill Ann Gonzales March 6, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    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.

    • Mia McPherson March 6, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks Merrill, they really are very colorful in the right light!

  7. Robert Mortensen March 6, 2013 at 1:10 pm

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

  8. Tami March 6, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Absolutely stunning.

  9. Pierre Cenerelli March 6, 2013 at 9:01 am

    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!

    • Mia McPherson March 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      Thank you Pierre! You are very kind

  10. Larry Jordan March 6, 2013 at 7:58 am

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

  11. Sherry in MT March 6, 2013 at 7:28 am

    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.

    • Mia McPherson March 6, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      Thank you Sherry, they are beautiful but noisy birds!

  12. Beverly Everson March 6, 2013 at 7:07 am


  13. Bob Bushell March 6, 2013 at 6:24 am

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

  14. eric c11 March 6, 2013 at 6:23 am

    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 ☺

    • Mia McPherson March 6, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      I hope you get that time Eric!

  15. Susan March 6, 2013 at 6:16 am

    You nailed it Mia, gorgeous photo:)

  16. judy watson March 6, 2013 at 5:45 am

    Beautiful capture!

  17. Bonnie peel March 6, 2013 at 5:12 am

    Wow,that is gorgeous Mia. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work. Should I call it work? 🙂

    • Mia McPherson March 6, 2013 at 5:27 am

      Thank you Bonnie, I guess you could call it my passion!

  18. M. Firpi March 6, 2013 at 4:57 am

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

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