The Mexican Jay, also known as the Gray-breasted Jay, is a medium-sized songbird found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. It measures approximately 11.5 inches (29 cm) in length and weighs around 2.8 ounces (80 grams), making it one of the larger jays found in North America.
One of the distinguishing field marks of the Mexican Jay is its gray breast and belly, contrasting with its blue head, wings, and tail. Its back and upper wings are a rich brown color. The Mexican Jay also has a black mask that extends from its bill to its neck, and a short crest on its head. Juveniles have less intense blue colors and are often gray-brown instead.
The Mexican Jay is a year-round resident in the southwestern United States, with its range extending from southeastern California to western Texas. In Mexico, it can be found in the states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Durango, and Sinaloa. This jay typically inhabits pine-oak forests, but can also be found in juniper woodlands and riparian areas.
Unlike many migratory birds, the Mexican Jay does not undertake significant seasonal movements. However, it may move to different elevations depending on the availability of food and other resources. During the breeding season, Mexican Jays are generally found at higher elevations, while in winter they move to lower elevations in search of food.
The Mexican Jay is an omnivorous bird, feeding on a wide variety of foods including insects, seeds, berries, and nuts. It has a unique habit of caching food in the ground or in tree bark to consume later. The Mexican Jay is also known for its complex social behavior, forming large flocks that help defend territories and share food resources. Overall, the Mexican Jay is a fascinating and distinctive bird species that is well worth observing in the wild.