Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Iberian Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cooki)

                            Two adult Iberian Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cookiat Monfrague National Park, Spain - April 2016

Local Name (Spain): Rabilargo 
Alternate Names: Iberian Magpie, Cook's Azure Winged Magpie, Spanish Azure Winged Magpie
Weight: 65-112g
Length: 34-35cm
Wingspan: 38-40cm
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Not Yet Evaluated 

The Iberian Azure-winged Magpie is another example of a recent split not entirely recognized (yet) by the entire scientific community.  In this case, the other species is already covered on this website in the case of the Azure-winged Magpie of East Asia including Japan.  There are minor physical differences (a white tip to the tail of the Asian species) and slightly darker colours on the European birds, but the real differentiation is the large degree of genetic separation between the two species in the mDNA, and the vast genetic isolation, being found at complete opposite ends of Eurasia respectively with nothing in between.  The Iberian Azure-winged Magpie as I saw it was slightly paradoxical in it's relationship to humans related to the Asian species; the Asian birds seemed both more comfortable with human habitation while the Iberian are exclusively rural, but the Spanish birds seem to be a little happier to have humans in their direct vicinity.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Genus: Cyanopica
Subspecies: none - monotypic


 - Sighting Locations -
SPAIN - Iberian Endemic widespread but local resident.
 - MADRID 2016 TRIP: Seen at Monfrague (2 birds) and several from the Motorway en route from Madrid.

Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

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