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White-tailed Jay - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Stanley Jones
Chaparrí Lodge, Chiclayo, Lambayeque Department, Peru, November 2013
Cyanocorax mystacalis


33cm (132 in)

  • Feathers of forehead are stiffly errected and short-tufted, creating an inconspicuous frontal crest
  • Black forehead, crown, side of head, side of neck, throat and upper breast
  • Small white patch above eye, elongated white malar patch
  • White nape, hindneck, upper mantle, lower side of neck and underparts
  • Cyan-blue upperparts
  • White tail except for central feather pair which is cyan-blue with white tips
  • Bright lemon-yellow eye
  • Black bill and legs
Immature bird showing dark eye even though the white spots above the eye have started developing
Photo © by NJLarsen
Jorupe reserve, Loja, SW Ecuador, June 10, 2019.

Sexes similar. Juveniles have a purplish-blue malar patch, a brown eye and lack the white spot above the eye. The color of the malar fades to whitish and the spots above the eye starts to develop before the color of the eye changes.

Similar species

Similar to Cayenne Jay but with much more white in tail and ranges don't overlap.


Found in southwest Ecuador and northwest Peru.
Tumbesian endemic with a restricted range. Uncommon to locally common, seems to have declined.


This is a monotypic species[1].
Possibly closely related to Cayenne Jay and/or Tufted Jay.


Dry or moist lowland forests, particularly thick growth near streams and rivers. Found from sea coast up to 2600m.



Feeds on beetles, ants, other insects and seeds. Reported raiding a nest of Pale-legged Hornero.
Often seen on ground and approaches human settlements more frequently than other jays.


Breeding reported from February to March. One nest described in a large tree adjacent to a village. No other information.


A sedentary species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  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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