Brown Jay

Brown Jay
Brown Jay
Adult bird.
Camelia Roja, San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec, Oaxaca
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Genus: Psilorhinus
Species: P. morio
Binomial name
Psilorhinus morio
Wagler, 1829
Range (click to magnify)

The Brown Jay (Psilorhinus morio) is a large American Jay which has the habitus of a magpie, but is slightly smaller and with a shorter tail, though the bill is larger.

It occurs from Mexico south into Central America on the Gulf slope. The northernmost extent of the bird is on the Rio Grande in southern Texas, the lower region of the river called the Rio Grande Valley, (of Texas).


Brown Jays vary in plumage geographically: there are two main groups. Northern birds are almost completely dark brown, with lighter brown on the underparts. Southern birds are white-bellied and have bright white tips to the outer tailfeathers. The intergrade zone is in Veracruz.

Adults in both populations have black bills, legs, and feet. Immatures have yellow bare parts, including yellow eye-rings.

The voice is a loud but low pitched pee-ah call and is often modified to suit its situation or mood.


Food is sought largely in trees but it also takes some food from the ground. Insects and a wide range of other invertebrates are taken, also lizards, fruit,[1] and nectar. Though it does take eggs and nestlings, it appears not to if there is plenty of other foods available.

The nest is built in a tree or large shrub with both sexes helping in construction. There are normally three eggs laid but six is not unusual. Incubation is between 18 and 20 days. Only the female broods but the father feeds her while doing so.

Sometimes the young from another year will help in raising the chicks too. If a helper bird returns with food, it will give it to one of the resident parents to feed the chicks.


In Central America the Brown Jay is not found in El Salvador; the range also appears on the Pacific side of Central America in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and western Panama.


  1. ^ E.g. of Trophis racemosa (Moraceae), though they are rather indiscriminating feeders (Foster 2007).


  • BirdLife International (2004). Cyanocorax morio. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Foster, Mercedes S. (2007): The potential of fruiting trees to enhance converted habitats for migrating birds in southern Mexico. Bird Conservation International 17(1): 45-61. doi:10.1017/S0959270906000554 PDF fulltext

External links