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Yucatan Jay - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Peter Withers
Riviera Maya, Mexico, July 2008
Cyanocorax yucatanicus


31 - 35cm (12½-13¾ in).

  • Bulky black head with short tufted feathers on forecrown
  • Black neck and upper mantle
  • Cerulean blue upperparts, wings and tail
  • Black underparts
  • Blackish-brown eye
  • Black bill
  • Bright orange-yellow legs

Sexes similar. Juveniles (July-September) have a white head and underparts until the first moult some weeks after fledging. Through the first year they look like dull adults but with a bright yellow bill and orbital ring.

Similar species

Photo by bajadreamer
Rio Lagartos, Yucatan, Mexico, February 2016

Similar to Purplish-backed Jay (which has a yellow eye), San Blas Jay and Bushy-crested Jay (which have dark legs) but ranges of the four species don't overlap. Adult - black bill, black orbital ring.


Endemic to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, north Guatemala and north Belize.
Common to fairly common in its range.


Formerly placed in genus Cissilopha.


There are two recognized subspecies.1

  • C. y. yucatanicus
  • C. y. rivularis
    • Tabasco and southwestern Campeche, southeastern Mexico


Clearings and edges of dry forests. Occurs from sea-level up to 250m.


Usually seen in groups of 6 - 12 birds, sometimes more.


Feeds on seeds and insects.


Lays eggs in May and June. Cooperative breeder with helpers. The nest is a flimsy platform made of sticks and twigs. It's placed 4 - 9m above the ground in a tree. Lays 4 - 6 eggs.


A sedentary species.


Click on photo for larger image


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. 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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