Featured in Baby Animals – Jan 17, 2013
Featured in The Birds – Jan 7, 2013
Yucatan Jay, photographed in Mayan Riviera, Mexico in December 2012
Canon Eos 7D with 70-300mm lens, f/8, ISO-160, 1/50sec, 300mm focal length
The Yucatán Jay (Cyanocorax yucatanicus) is a species of bird in the Corvidae family, the crows and their allies. It is found in Belize, Guatemala, and southern Mexico. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and heavily degraded former forest. Adults are black, with cerulean blue wings, mantle, and tail. They have black bills, black eye rings, and yellow legs. Juvenile Yucatán Jays have completely yellow bare parts and white, rather than black, body plumage. They molt out of the white plumage by September or October, but retain the yellow bill and eye ring for a few more months. They also have pale-tipped retrices, which the adults lack.
Yucatan jays are cooperative breeders, with younger birds helping the breeding pair to raise the chicks. The jay lays 4-6 pinkish-buff eggs in a poorly constructed platform nest close to canopy height near the forest edge. They are omnivores, adapting their diet to take advantage of seasonally available plant and animal material as it changes in abundance.
This species has a large range and a large, increasing population. It does not appear to be under threat from the rapid and intense development of the coastal Yucatan to the “Riviera Maya.”