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Bushy-crested Jay - BirdForum Opus

subspecies melanocyaneus
Photo by Oregonian
Guatemala City, Guatemala, May 2006

Alternative name: Hartlaub's Jay

Cyanocorax melanocyaneus


28 - 33cm.

  • Appears bulky-headed when crown feathers are errected
  • Black hood extending to upper mantle and breast
  • Cerulean blue rest of upperparts including wing and tail
  • Indigo to duller cerulean rest of underparts, black in chavezi
  • Bright yellow eye
  • Black bill, blackish legs

Sexes similar. Juveniles are fuscous brown with blue wings and tail. They also have a dark eye and a yellowish-horn bill.

Similar species

San Blas Jay is very similar to subspecies chavezi but ranges don't overlap.


Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.
Restricted-range species but not uncommon.


There are 2 subspecies:

Formerly placed in genus Cissilopha.


Mixed woodland, coffee plantations, pine/oak forest, and cloud forest habitats. Occurs from 1000m up to 2450m.


Feeds on insects, seeds and fruits.
Usually foraging in flocks.
Breeding recorded from April to June. A communal breeder, a pair has several helpers. The simple nest is made of sticks and twigs and placed 1,5 to 6m above the ground in a coffee tree. Lays 3 - 4 eggs.
A sedentary species.


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. 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

Recommended Citation

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