Living Bird Magazine
Green JayCyanocorax yncas
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Corvidae
A brilliant green, yellow, and blue jay of the tropics whose range barely stretches to southern Texas, the Green Jay is a noisy, colorful delight. The birds travel in conspicuous family flocks through brushlands and forests, seeking insects, small vertebrates, and fruit to eat. Like other jays and crows, this species is an incredibly versatile forager equally comfortable at picking, gleaning, pouncing, and even flycatching. During the breeding season, from April through June, these garrulous birds settle down and become a bit quieter.More ID Info
Find This Bird
In the U.S., perhaps the best way to see these South Texas specialties is to travel to one of the area’s great refuges and parks, such as Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, and sit at the visitor center feeders. Though these noisy, gaudy birds are hard to miss in the open, they can be hard to spot among the leaves when they are silent and still.
- Chara Verde (Spanish)
- Geai vert (French)
- Cool Facts
- Green Jays use sticks to pry up loose bark, exposing insect prey. They are among the few North American bird species known to use tools.
- Green Jays, like the more familiar Blue Jays, are excellent mimics. In Texas, they may imitate the call of various hawks to frighten away other bird species (such as Plain Chachalacas) from food they want to eat.
- The Central American and South American populations of the Green Jay are separated by 900 mi. The two different groups differ in color, calls, and habitat use, and they may be different species. The South American Green Jays are larger and have a crest in front of their eyes.
- A Texas Green Jay flock consists of a breeding pair, the current year's nestlings, and 1-year-old, nonbreeding jays from the previous year's nest. The 1-year-olds defend the territory, which aids the parents, but they are ejected from the family flock soon after the current year's nestlings have fledged.
- In Colombia, the Green Jay retains offspring for several years, and those young help the parents raise more chicks.
- The oldest recorded Green Jay was at least 11 years, 7 months old, and lived in Texas.