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Black-chested Jay - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Coati
Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, October 2009
Cyanocorax affinis


33 - 36cm.

  • Stiffed forehead feathers create a short, laterally compressed frontal crest
  • Mostly black head with large elongated blue spot above eye, smaller spot below eye
  • Blue malar stripe
  • Bright cyan-blue nape, often partly concealed
  • Dull violet upperparts suffused with brown
  • Bright cyan tail, rectrices with whitish-cream tips
  • Sepia throat and upper breast
  • Whitish rest of underparts
  • Yellow to yellowish-white eye
  • Black bill and legs

Females tend to be more brownish than males. Juveniles are duller and browner.

Similar species

Superficially similar to Plush-crested Jay but ranges don't overlap.


Found from extreme southeast Costa Rica south to Panama, north and northeast Colombia and northwest Venezuela.
Uncommon and local but not globally threatened.



  • C. a. zeledoni:
  • C. a. affinis:


Dry forests, moist lowland forests, and heavily degraded former forest. Occurs from sea-level up to 2600m.


Feeds on fruits, berries, insects and occasional small lizards and frogs.
Usually seen in small groups of 3 - 8 birds. Keeps well hidden in foliage. Often attend trail of army ants to feed on disturbed insects.
Breeding recorded from January to May. Probably a sociable breeder. The nest is bulky and made of sticks and twigs. It's placed in a tree. Lays 3 - 5 eggs.
A sedentary species.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507

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