Written by Aleidys Lopez Romero
You’ve likely seen them swooping low to the ground and frolicking among the trees, their vibrant blue wings twinkling in the sunlight. The Mexican jay is a small but memorable inhabitant of the Sky Islands and is frequently seen on our Border Wildlife Study cameras.
Averaging 11.4 inches in length and 4.5 oz in weight, Mexican jays are smaller than American crows but larger than the average songbird. They have prominent blue tails, black pointed beaks, and gray patches on their back as well as their bellies. Their blue coloration tends to be brighter in the southern parts of their range and paler in the north. Perhaps surprisingly, Mexican jays live in family groups of 5-25 members who all take care of the flock’s young.
Mexican jays mostly eat acorns, pine nuts, and insects. They’re often seen hiding acorns in the fall in preparation for winter. During the spring and summer months, their diet expands and can include insects, lizards, bird eggs, and even berries.
Mexican jays live mainly in pine, oak, and juniper woodlands in Mexico and the Southwest. In Mexico they can live at elevations as high as 11,000 feet. They’re also one of North America’s most sedentary birds, rarely leaving the territory where they were born.
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Habitat loss due to timber harvesting and development are the Mexican jay’s biggest conservation threats. Potential habitat loss from global warming is also predicted to harm their population and make them highly vulnerable to extinction.