Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
Photo: Brian E. Small/Alamy
|Conservation status||Widespread and fairly common in Mexico and Central America. Recent arrival in southern Texas, still very uncommon and local there.|
|Family||Crows, Magpies, Jays|
|Habitat||Dense riverside woods. In Texas, found locally in relatively tall, dense, native woods along Rio Grande. In Mexico and Central America, lives in a variety of woodland habitats, especially around clearings, open woods, forest edges.|
Usually forages in flocks. Forages on the ground in dense cover, or in shrubs or trees, hopping about actively through the branches. Visits large flowers to feed on nectar and possibly insects there. Will break open hard nuts or seeds by pounding on them with bill.
3-4, sometimes 2-8. Blue-gray, spotted with brown. Incubation is by female (or by multiple females), about 18-20 days; other adults in flock may feed incubating female. Young: Fed by all adults in flock. Young leave nest about 3-4 weeks after hatching.
Fed by all adults in flock. Young leave nest about 3-4 weeks after hatching.
Omnivorous. Feeds on a wide variety of insects, also spiders, small lizards, rodents, eggs and nestlings of smaller birds. Also feeds on berries, fruits, seeds, nectar.
Nesting habits in Texas not well known. Farther south, has complicated social system. Each flock has only one nest; eggs in nest may be laid by only one female or by more than one; all adults in flock help to feed young in nest. Nest site is in tree or shrub, usually fairly low in Texas, probably in the range of 15-30' above the ground. Nest may be built by pair or by several adults. Often placed out at fork in horizontal limb. Nest is a bulky cup of sticks and twigs, lined with bark fibers, weeds, other soft material.
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