Tufted Jay Cyanocorax dickeyi

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

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


Tufted Jay has a variety of vocalizations. Its typical call is a staccato note, variously transcribed as rak (Crossin 1967), chuk or ca (Madge and Burn 1994) or chen (Howell and Webb 1995); this note usually is given in a rapid series of four notes, but sometimes is a double note call or in series of five or more notes (Crossin 1967, Madge and Burn 1994, Howell and Webb 1995) These calls are used in a variety of situations; incubating females use them, as do individuals during feeding excursions in social situations. Its mobbing call is similar, but higher pitched and with a faster pace; all members of the flock use this call while defending a nest or young (Crossin 1967). A nasal aaagh may be emitted by individuals close to one another during periods of rest, when birds perch with conspecifics, or when birds are bringing food to a female or young (Crossin 1967). The begging call is similar to homologous vocalizations of other species of jays or of crows (Corvus) (Crossin 1967). Males, when guarding a nest site may emit a ricochet sound, a low intensity tuk, or a double tst. Tufted Jay also is capable of a mimicry, and has been observed imitating Blue Mockingbird (Melanotis caerulescens) and Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) (Crossin 1967).

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Tufted Jay can be heard at Macaulay Library and at xeno-canto.

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported.

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. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.tufjay1.01