Highlights of the Month

Sri Lankan Blue Magpie

The Sri Lanka Blue Magpie is a member of the crow family, which lives in the rainforests and highlands of Sri Lanka and is one of the island’s 33 endemic species.

Description: The Sri Lanka Blue Magpie is around the same size as the European Magpie at 42-47cm, the adults are bright blue with chestnut head and wings, and a long white-tipped tail. The legs and bill are red. The young bird is a duller version of the adult. The Sri Lanka Blue Magpie has a variety of calls including mimicry, a loud chink-chink and a rasping krak-krak-krak-krak.

Habitats: This is a species lives in dense wet evergreen temperate rain forest, heavy virgin forests of the mountain areas and wet zone foot hills. Their numbers are declining due to the loss of habitat.

Behaviour: It is scarce and usually shy, but locally common and bolder. It associates in flocks up to six or seven, but pairs or solitary individuals are sometimes met with and can also occur in mixed species feeding flocks dubbed as birdwaves in Sinharaja. A very energetic, agile bird, most of its time is spent in searching for food among foliage at all levels from the ground to the tops of tall trees. It is largely carnivorous, eating small frogs, lizards, insects and other invertebrates, but will eat fruit.  The breeding season is in the first quarter of the year, so far as is known, but the nest has seldom been found. The nest resembled a small crow’s nest. It is very well concealed among small twigs and foliage near the top of the tree. The eggs number three to five

Where can I see a Sri Lanka Blue Magpie while on tour?

The trails in the Sinharaja Rain Forest are the best place to see this colourful endemic. The Magpie can also be seen in other forest areas such as the Kanneliya-Dediyagala–Nakiyadeniya complex, Delwala, walankanda, Central Highland, Knuckles and Bambarabotuwa.

Did you know?

The Sri Lanka Blue Magpie is classified as Vulnerable (VU), considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.


  • BirdLife International (2001).
  • Ratnayake (2008).
  • S. Kaotagama in litt. (2007).
  • 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is vulnerable and the criteria used