Green jay

Cyanocorax yncas

This colourful American bird from the crow family occupies a wide range of habitats, including rainforest and dryer, more open regions. It's an omnivorous species that feeds both on plants and other animals. A social bird, its reproduction is sometimes cooperative, with other members of the group helping to raise the chicks from a single pair.

Natural habit

From South Texas to Honduras, Venezuela to northern Bolivia and Mexico to the south of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Green jay
  • Distribution / Resident
  • Breeding
  • Wintering
  • Subspecies

Risk level

  • Extint
  • Extint in the wild
  • Critically endangered
  • In Danger
  • Vulnerable
  • Near threatened
  • Minor concern
  • Insufficient data
  • Not evaluated
Least Concern



Physical characteristics

66-92 g
Birth Weight:
25 - 27 cm
More than 15 years


Social life


3 to 5

Discover how they are



The head is a violet blue colour on the back and can have a shaggy crest of the same-coloured feathers over the beak. The black face has two violet-coloured lines over the eyes the same colour as the crest, while the neck and breast are totally black. The top of the body is a rich green, while the underparts are a greenish yellow.


They occupy a large variety of habitats, both wet forests and more open and dry regions throughout their area of distribution, which encompasses Central America and South America from southern Texas to Honduras and from Colombia to northern Bolivia.


They feed both on vegetable and animal matter, eating a wide variety of insects and other invertebrates like beetles, bedbugs, ants, locusts and earthworms, as well as lizard eggs, seeds and fruits from a large variety of plant species.


Two mating systems have been seen in this species: cooperative breeding, which includes other members that help raise the chicks of a single pair, which happens more in populations living more to the south, and breeding without the help of other members, happening more in the northern regions of their area of distribution. Young individuals in the north disperse to another territory, while those in the south remain inside the family territory, participating in building the nest and feeding their parents’ chicks. Both in the north and in the south, the chicks remain in the family group for one year.

Hypotheses about this difference in reproductive behaviour claim that it may be because the environmental conditions in the south are harsher and food is scarcer and scattered, so that cooperative breeding is more advantageous. They normally lay four eggs that they incubate for 17-18 days. After hatching, they are fed for a long period of time both by the parents and their assistants, in the case of southern populations.


Sedentary throughout their area of distribution.

Status and conservation programs

It is not endangered, and is even locally common and habitual at some points.