White-throated Magpie Jay

Common Name: Magpie Jay


Family: Corvidae

The White-throated Magpie-Jay ranges from Mexico to Central America. These are available in the Mexico and most of the Central American countries like Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. They have a preference of the driest climates. The Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica has a large population of white-throated magpie-jays. They are also available in the National Parks of Costa Rica such as Carara National Park., Palo Verde National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Rincón de La Vieja National Park.

White-throated Magpie-Jay body length ranges from 46 to 56 centimeters. The Wingspan normally has a length from 178 mm to 193 mm. Tarsus length varies from 39 to 46 mm and bill length from 29 to 34 mm. Average length: 50.8 cm. Range wingspan:. Their average length is 50.8 centimeters and their wingspan ranges from 17.8 to 19.3 centimeters.

Weight: White-throated magpie-jays are big brilliantly colored bird’s body weight normally ranges from 205 g to 213 g.

Diet : White-throated magpie-jays are omnivores, they feed mostly on caterpillars and assorted small fruits. They also eat katydids and grasshoppers, frogs, small lizards, nestlings of small birds, and Acacia fruits and seeds. Other food includes assorted large fruits, arthropod egg and spiders. Their Diet differs from season, adult birds consuming generally fruit during (August-December) the dripping and late dripping season; caterpillars during the (May-August) early wet season, and a blend of miscellaneous fruit and acacia fruits during (January-April) the dry season.

Average life span: White-throated magpie-jays are likely to be relatively long-lived. While information on the lifespan of this particular species was not available, it is not uncommon for other species of corvids to live from 15 to 25 years.

Habitat: The White-throated magpie-jays habitat in a wide rage of environment. They mostly reside in drier habitats, mainly dry forests of the Costa Rica. They are also available in areas of semi-humid and woodland. They also make habitat near areas that are under cultivation. They are also available along the forest edges. They are frequently found near the places of human living and coffee plantations in the Central America. Preferred territories are usually flat, but they also found in hilly areas from sea level up to 1,250m ( 4,100 feet).

They usually make their habitat on thorny undergrowth and trees, mainly Acacia trees, which provide feeding in the dry season, and Cresenctia alata and Acrocomina vinifera trees that they utilize for nesting. Sometime they select an isolated tree in the middle of a clearing for nesting.

White-throated magpie-jays are supportive breeders, family members provide help in breeding pair to raise young.

They generally breed from January to April. Each female lay 2 to 6 eggs. One female breeder is normally responsible for hatching all of the eggs of a small group of birds and seldom leaves the nest. Other females bring food to her during the incubation process. White-throated magpie-jays male do not play any active role in the reproduction process. The hatching period lasts about 23 days.
They generally breed once in the first 4 months of the year, however if the first nest is lost, the birds will lay more eggs. The age of the sexual maturity ranges between 8 to 14 months.

Magpie Jays
are found in America in large quantities. They are quite different in appearance from the other members of their family. They are very loud and noisy birds and they usually travel in flocks.

The white throated Magpie Jays are mostly confused with the black throated magpie jays. They have a great resemblance.

They have the following three subspecies:-

1) Nominate race: It is found in southern Mexico.

2) C. f. Azure: They are mostly found in southeastern Mexico and western Guatemala.

3) C.f. Pompata: They are found in between eastern Mexico and Costa Rica.

C.f. Pompata have a height of 43-56 cm and they weigh about 205-213 kg. They usually have a long tail and have slightly curved shape soft bendable feathers on their head. These feathers have blue and black margins. Breast, belly and the underside of the rump are white. The mantle and the tail are blue with white margins on the tail. They have black colored eyes and legs. The beak is grey in color and the birds are of small size.

White-throated magpie Jay are not limited in terms of habitat. They can live in a diverse habitat. Similarly, they consume a lot of variety of animals and plants. They feed from the nectar in the flowers to the smallest insects. They will usually never have a shortage of food due to their ability to eat a lot of things.

Magpie Jay
do not have the tradition of migration like other birds. They prefer to stay in the place where they are born. This is probably because the birds who have less food resources or who are not adjusting to the environment migrate to other places. But this is not the case with them as they can survive on a variety of foods and can adjust in different environments.

Magpie Jay are mostly referred to as compensating breeders. Every nest has a dominant female pair and several helpers to help in the growth of the offspring. They have a unique behavior that the female offspring remain in the nest to help their mother while male offspring are dispersed. The female offspring and helpers have the work of feeding the dominant female and its offspring. The dominant female mates only the dominant male. It is very faithful while all the other males are searching for a chance to mate with the dominant female. On the other hand the female workers want to be dominant in the group. Thus, everyone in the group wants a higher position. A new nest is only started when the first nest fails. Thus, another female gets the chance of being dominant.
These species are not listed as endangered. They can be found in great numbers in Costa Rica.

The young birds born need several years to be fully grown up. Their nests can be found in isolated trees in Costa Rica. They prefer to live alone.

History says that White throated Magpie jays rang as far south as the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.

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