Bushy-crested Jay Cyanocorax melanocyaneus

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Corvidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Donna Molfetto



Bushy-crested Jays spend much of their time foraging for food, often following ant swarms to eat the flushed insects.  They travel in large family groups and tolerate many other species at the swarm when foraging.


Little information. Home range estimate as 3-4 ha (Hardy 1976).

Sexual Behavior

Many aspects of sexual behavior are not yet described.  The entire flock, including juveniles, participates in the care of one or two nests (Goodwin 1976). Though only one female is believed to lay the eggs, two females often share incubation and brooding (Goodwin 1976). 

Social and interspecific behavior

Many other species have been observed following ant swarms with this jay, such as Rufous-and-white Wrens (Thryothorus rufalbus), Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus aurantiirostris), Spot-crowned Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes affinis), and
White-throated Thrush (Turdus albicollis) (Hardy 1974a).  However, many of these species leave the swarm to eat their prey, unlike Cyanocorax melanocyaneus (Hardy 1974a).


Some social species prevent non-breeders from caring for the chicks until the fledgling stage to avoid nest predation (Strickland and Waite 2001).  Species that exhibit this behavior have smaller clutches, lower parental nest visitation rates, a smaller body size, and smaller social groups (Strickland and Waite 2001).  However, this behavior is not present in Bushy-crested Jays, suggesting low predation pressure at the nest or sufficient resources to deter nest predators (Strickland and Waite 2001). Hardy (1976) reported an iguana (Iguana iguana) capturing a fledgling Bushy-crested Jay.

Recommended Citation

Molfetto, D. (2010). Bushy-crested Jay (Cyanocorax melanocyaneus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.bucjay1.01