Wednesday, January 17, 2018

White-throated Magpie-Jay

White-throated Magpie-Jays joined us for breakfast on our last morning (9 July 2017) at the Ensenada Lodge in western Costa Rica. These birds are found from western Mexico to northwestern Costa Rica. 

The behavior of these jays is extraordinary. These birds form flocks comprised of a dominant female, her female offspring, and her mate. Young males leave the flock and randomly accompany other flocks, so long as the dominant female is not nesting.

The females in the flock feed the dominant female (their mother) and help her feed newly hatched young. A helper female occasionally attempts to nest, but she is not assisted by the other females in the flock—unless the dominant female’s nest fails. Helpers, however, occasionally lay eggs in their mother’s nest—the resulting chicks are raised by the group (Cornell).

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