Mexican Jay (Aphelocoma ultramarina)

Mexican Jay

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Corvidae | [latin] Aphelocoma ultramarina | [UK] Mexican Jay | [FR] Geai du Mexique | [DE] Graubrust-Haher | [ES] Chara Azulosa | [NL] Mexicaanse Gaai


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Aphelocoma ultramarina NA, MA sw USA to s Mexico
Aphelocoma ultramarina arizonae
Aphelocoma ultramarina colimae
Aphelocoma ultramarina couchii
Aphelocoma ultramarina gracilis
Aphelocoma ultramarina potosina
Aphelocoma ultramarina ultramarina
Aphelocoma ultramarina wollweberi

Physical charateristics

A blue jay without a crest. Resembles the Scrub Jay, but upperparts and underparts more uniform
; back and breast grayer. No strong contrast between throat and breast (as in Scrub Jay, which has a whiter throat and necklace). Also lacks narrow whitish line over eye. In Arizona, juveniles may have yellow bills. Voice very different.

Listen to the sound of Mexican Jay

[audio: Jay.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 36 cm wingspan max.: 40 cm
size min.: 27 cm size max.: 31 cm
incubation min.: 16 days incubation max.: 18 days
fledging min.: 25 days fledging max.: 28 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 7  


North America, Middle America : Southwest USA to South Mexico


Open oak forests (Arizona); oak-pine woods (Texas).
In Arizona, found in various oak woodlands, including those mixed with pines, in canyons and lower slopes of mountains (up to about 7,000′). Elsewhere in range, in Texas and Mexico, found in a variety of forests dominated by pines and oaks.


Flocks defend permanent territories that may remain the same for generations. Within each flock, 2-4 females may nest at one time; each is attended by one
male but may mate with other males in flock as well. In Texas, where flocks are smaller, may nest as isolated pairs.
Nest: Site is in tree, averaging about 20′ up, can be 6-60′ above the ground. Nest (built by both sexes) is bulky cup of sticks and twigs, lined with fine rootlets and plant fibers.
Eggs: 4-5, sometimes 1-6. Eggs pale unmarked green in Arizona; in Texas, pale blue-green, usually with pale brownish spots. Incubation is by female, about 18 days. Other adults in flock feed incubating female on nest.

Young: Fed by both parents and by other members of flock. Young leave nest at about 25-28 days, may be fed for several weeks thereafter.

Feeding habits

Omnivorous; mostly acorns, seeds, insects.
Diet is largely acorns and seeds of pinyon pine from fall through winter, mostly insects in summer. Eats grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, and many other insects; also lizards, small snakes, birds’ eggs, rarely mice or birds.
Forages on the ground or in trees, usually in flocks. Rarely catches insects in flight. Breaks open acorns by holding them against branch with feet and pounding with bill. Harvests acorns in fall and buries them in ground, often remembering location and
retrieving them later.


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Mexican Jay status Least Concern


Southwestern United States to central Mexico.
b Migration: Almost never moves away from immediate breeding territory; may be the most sedentary bird species in North America.

Distribution map

Mexican Jay distribution range map

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