A Mexican Jay is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Mexican Jays. We have also put together a list of fun Mexican Jay t-shirts, Mexican Jaybird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.
About Mexican Jays
The Mexican Jay was formerly known as the “gray-breasted jay”. It is a jay that is native to the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Sierra Madre Occidental.
Description and Identification
Mexican Jays are relatively large songbirds that are around 11.4 inches long. The species lacks significant sexual dimorphism, with all adults having blue wings that match their blue heads and tails. Their backs are grayish-blue while their underparts are dingy white. Their long tails are a dark blue that taper down with darker hues of the navy; their bills are a similar shade of dark blue. Juveniles are dull gray with pale bills; they are similar to adults in appearance but may sometimes have pale patches at the base of their bills and gaps for several years.
Mexican Jay Appearance
It is a medium-sized jay with blue upperparts and gray underparts. The blue color extends from its head to its blue-gray mantle, wings, and tail. The gray coloration is mainly found on its breast and underparts.
They have yellow irises with black legs. The adults have black bills whereas the juveniles have pale pink bills. Both sexes are similar in appearance.
Mexican Jay Feeding
The diet of these jays mainly consists of acorns, pinyon nuts, small insects and anthropods,
and lizards. Their summer diets involve a lot of insects, securing a rich and essential
source of protein for them. Insect prey can include grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars.
They also feed on spiders, small snakes, birds’ eggs. On very rare occasions, they may feed
on mice and small birds as well. These omnivores largely consume acorns, pinyon nuts, and
seeds of pinyon pine during the winters when insect populations dwindle.
Like other jays, it is an omnivorous bird. It feeds on seeds, nuts, and fruits. For animal life, it feeds on small rodents, small reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates, nestlings, and eggs.
Mexican Jay Habitat
Large populations of these songbirds are found in the open oak forests of Arizona, oak-pine
woods of Texas, and various other oak woodlands, specifically those that mixed with pines.
Mexican populations are also found in woodlands dominated by oak and pine but may be
riparian as well. They can occur along oak-lined creeks that extend into adjacent grasslands,
although areas surrounding mountain basins with the preferred trees may be far from a
creek. They are also abundantly found in juniper woodlands.
The Mexican Jay’s preferred habitat is the montane pine-oak forest found in western New Mexico, western Texas in the United States, and in eastern Arizona. It builds its nest on top of these trees and also uses them for protection.
Range and Migration
Mexican Jays are New World passerine birds that are native to the mountain ranges of
The Sierra Madre Oriental and the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico, and the Central Plateau of
Mexico. Small portions of their populations are also found in parts of the south-western United
States. These birds are non-migratory and are permanent residents of these habitats,
making way for the cooperative breeding system that has evolved among these birds. As of
2011, the American Ornithologists’ Union voted to split the species into two further taxa –
one retaining the name of Mexican Jay while the other was named the Transvolcanic Jay.
Mexican Jay Life and Behavior
They are highly social birds that live in small clusters and raise their young through a cooperative-parenting system, where former juveniles and other unrelated pairs assist in bringing up the young.
After courting and mating, the female lays 2 to 6 eggs. She then incubates the eggs for up to 16 days until they hatch. During this time, the male brings food to the female as she stays in the nest for days to protect and incubate the eggs. The male also provides added protection to the eggs and the incubating female. After they hatch, the female takes up the role of providing food to the young and receives occasional help from other members of the flock and her mate.
The male then takes up the protective role and protects his mate and the juveniles. The males work together to protect the entire flock.
Mexican Jay Nesting
Mexican Jays have strong social systems that result in flocks defending permanent territories that may remain the same for many generations. Each flock oversees 2 – 4 females nesting at one time, with each being attended by one male, though they may mate with other males in the flock as well. Regions that host smaller populations may also witness
isolated pairs, such as Texas. Nest sites are typically in trees, mainly oak, juniper, or pine. These sites tend to be well hidden among foliage and are generally between 6 – 60 feet above the ground, although the average height is roughly 20 feet. The nests are built by both sexes and is a sturdy cup made of sticks and twigs, with the inner lining made with rootlets and plant fibres. Their clutch size is between 1 – 6 eggs in a brood.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Mexican Jays
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Mexican Jays are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Mexican Jay T-shirts
If you love the Mexican Jay you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Mexican Jay Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Mexican Jay is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Mexican Jay Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Mexican Jay. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders for Mexican Jay
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Mexican Jay
There are many types of bird houses. Building a bird house is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 bird houses have become our favorites. Getting a bird house for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these bird houses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.