|Conservation status||Probably declined in southern Texas with initial loss of habitat, but current population seems to be stable or increasing.|
|Family||Crows, Magpies, Jays|
|Habitat||Brush, woodlands. In Texas, most common in dense native woodlands in the lowlands dominated by acacia, ebony, and hackberry; also lives in more open mesquite brush and stands of short oaks, and in some suburbs with native vegetation nearby. In the tropics, often in humid forest in foothills and lower mountain slopes.|
Forages by moving actively through trees and shrubs, examining the foliage for food; drops to the ground for some items, and sometimes flies out to catch insects in mid-air. Cracks open hard seeds and nuts by pounding them with bill. Will come to bird feeders for a variety of items.
3-5. Pale gray to greenish white, heavily spotted with brown and lavender. Incubation is by female only, about 17-18 days. Male may feed female during incubation. Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Young leave nest about 19-22 days after hatching. Young remain in parents' territory through nesting season of following year, then are evicted. In some tropical areas, these one-year-olds help with feeding young in nest, but apparently those in Texas do not.
Both parents bring food for nestlings. Young leave nest about 19-22 days after hatching. Young remain in parents' territory through nesting season of following year, then are evicted. In some tropical areas, these one-year-olds help with feeding young in nest, but apparently those in Texas do not.
Omnivorous. Feeds on a wide variety of insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, true bugs, wasps, and many others. Also eats spiders, centipedes, small rodents, lizards, eggs and young of small birds. Feeds on plant material including various seeds, nuts, berries, and small fruits.
Pair or family group may defend territory throughout the year. Nest: In Texas, site is in dense tree or shrub, usually 5-15' above the ground. Nest (built by both sexes) is a bulky but loose cup of sticks, thorny twigs, lined with rootlets, grass, moss, and sometimes leaves.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Permanent resident. Rarely wanders any distance from nesting areas.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for over 450 bird species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsVariety of rattling calls. Also shink, shink, shink.
Learn more about this sound collection.