Backyard Birds

Black-throated Magpie-jay (Calocitta colliei)

The Black-throated Magpie-jays (Calocitta colliei) is a strikingly long-tailed jay of northwestern Mexico.


This species is 58.5 to 76.5 cm (23 to 30 inches) long, more than half of which is the tail.

The upperparts are blue with white tips to the tail feathers; the underparts are white. The bill, legs, head, and conspicuous crest are black except for a pale blue crescent over the eyes and a patch under the eye.

In juveniles, the crest has a white tip and the patch below the eye is smaller and darker blue than in adults.

In most birds, the throat and chest are also black, but some in the southern part of the range have various amounts of white.

Jay InformationPhotos of Different Jay Species for Identification

Calls / Vocalizations

The calls are varied, loud, raucous, sometimes parrot-like.

Range and habitat

This species occurs in pairs or small groups in woodland, except for humid woodland, and partially open areas on the Pacific Slope of Mexico from southern Sonora south to Jalisco and northwestern Colima, for a total of 160,000 km2.

As of 1993, there was some evidence of a population decline.


The diet is the omnivorous one typical of the crow family.

The nest is also typical of the family: a big cup of sticks lined with softer material. The female lays 3 to 7 whitish eggs with brown and gray spots.

This species seems to hybridize with the White-throated Magpie-jay in Jalisco and Colima, where intermediate birds are common. It has been considered a subspecies of the White-throated Magpie-jay, Calocitta formosa colliei.

The binomial commemorates the Scottish naturalist Alexander Collie


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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