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Tufted Jay Cyanocorax dickeyi

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Corvidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Meredith Kittelson and Cameron K. Ghalambor


The nest of Tufted Jay first was discovered in 1938, only a few years after the species itself was discovered (Moore 1938), but most information on the reproductive biology of the jay comes from Crossin (1967). This is a monogamous species that breeds cooperatively. In the group, the offspring of the previous year and the females of the group (called helpers) assist the breeding pair in building the nest. They build stick nests lined with roots placed on thin tree branches that are located 5-15 m above the ground; the nest is 41 cm in outer diameter, 14 cm in inner diameter, and 6 cm deep. They lay two to five eggs in April or May. Eggs are grayish white, densely speckled and mottled with browns and grays. Prior to egg-laying and during the incubation period following in it, females spend long hours sitting on the nest during the day. The dominant (?) female is responsible for incubating the eggs. Males and helpers bring food to the female throughout incubation. The eggs hatch after an 18-19 day incubation period; chicks are hatched slightly asynchronously. The nestlings remain in the nest for approximately 24 days. The young are cooperatively fed by the group, although in most cases the provisioning is indirect: members of the group bring food to the dominant female, who then feeds the nestlings (Crossin 1967). The nestling period is estimated to be ca 24 days (Crossin 1967). Juvenile males remain in the group for 13 - 18 months, then disperse and join another group (Crossin 1967).

Recommended Citation

Kittelson, M. and C. K. Ghalambor (2014). Tufted Jay (Cyanocorax dickeyi), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.