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Purplish-backed Jay - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Beechey's Jay

Cyanocorax beecheii


35 - 40cm.

  • Inconspicous stiffened, plush-like feathers on forehead and face
  • Black head, neck, upper mantle and underparts, throat tending to sepia
  • Bright ultramarine upperparts and upperwings
  • Blackish underwing and underside of tail
  • Yellow eye
  • Black bill
  • Yellow legs

Sexes similar. Juveniles have a dark grey head and body, a distinctly darker hood and a blackish breast and a dark brown eye.

Similar species

Similar to Yucatan Jay but different eye colour and ranges don't overlap. Also very similar to San Blas Jay but note different leg colour. There is limited range overlap with this latter, notably around San Blas where purplish-backed is the more commonly encountered species


Endemic to the pacific coastal lowlands of northwest Mexico.
Locally common but iwht a small range.


Formerly placed in genus Cissilopha.


Dry decidious forest, especially secondary growth. Found from sea-level up to 600m.


Feeds on invertebrates (like mosquitoes, termites or ants), small rodents, small lizards, fruit and berries and grain.
Usually seen in small groups of 2 - 6 birds.
Breeding season from May to June. Social breeder with helpers. All members of the group help building the nestwhich is an untidy platform of twigs. It's placed 4 - 8m above the ground in a tree. Lays 3 - 6 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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