Scientific Name: Cyanocorax chrysops
Plush-crested jays cooperate at the nesting site with last year’s offspring who help the adults care for the new chicks. Plush-crested jays belong to the Corvidae family which includes crows, jays, and magpies. They are curious birds; not at all shy, they will readily approach humans and even steal small objects from them.
STATUS: The plush-crested jay is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
HABITAT: Plush-crested jays inhabit forest and woodland areas in south-central and eastern South America. Their range includes northeastern Argentina, northern and eastern parts of Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and southwestern Brazil, as well as southern regions of the Amazon Basin river system. They will also occasionally venture into low, thick scrub or groves in agricultural areas.
DIET: The plush-crested jay is an active forager, hopping and peering about on branches and in foliage. When food is plentiful, plush-crested jays will often hide extra food and store it for a time when food may be scarce.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: The plush-crested jay is a medium sized bird, measuring about 14 inches in length. Its crown feathers are stiff and plush-like, extending to the back of its head as a short crest. The head, sides of the neck, throat, and breast are black. A spot above the bird’s eye is bright blue while the area below the eye and extending to the beak is deep blue. A band located behind the neck of the bird is milky blue becoming violet blue on the upper back. The lower breast and belly are creamy white. Wings and tail are deep blue in color, and its tail is tipped in white.
Plush-crested jays are noisy social birds and often call without purpose. They range in groups of up to 12 individuals and have a very loud, arresting call which serves to call attention to the birds. The most frequently used call is a ringing cho-cho-cho, and they have been known to imitate other birds’ calls.