Purple-backed Jay
Purple-backed Jay
Purple-backed Jay

Purple-backed Jay

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Purple-backed Jay

The Purple-backed Jay (Cyanocorax beecheii) is a bird of the crow family Corvidae, with purple feathers on its back and black feathers everywhere else. It is endemic to Mexico. Cyanocorax beecheyi is monotypic.


Purple-backed Jay (Beechey’s Jay) is the largest of the Cyanocorax jays. It has a black head, neck and underparts, with deep blue to purple wings, back, and tail. This jay also has yellow irides, bright yellow legs, and a black bill. The sexes are similar, with the male slightly larger than the female. Juveniles are duller, with smoky gray underparts, brown irides, and a yellow bill.


The Purple-backed Jay’s primary vocalization is very crow-like. Among its rather limited vocal repertoire is at least one rather Corvus-like vocalization, which appears to vary quite markedly on an individual basis. Courtship calls may be a complex subbing.


Purple-backed Jay is monogamous for life, forming pair bonds. Either sex or both adults in a bonded pair may perform a “sotho-voce” song display.

Although the Purple-backed Jay is monogamous they breed cooperatively. Only one brood is produced each year, and there is usually only one nest per group with a single dominant mated pair. All members of the group, including offspring from the previous year and females, assist with nest building, with the breeding female participating the most. Clutch size is 3 – 6 eggs, 5 being the average. Eggs are pinkish-buff with reddish marks. Incubation is carried out by the breeding female who rarely leaves the nest; her mate, and sometimes the group helpers, brings the female food as she sits on the nest. Incubation is 18-19 days and fledging occurs 22-25 days after hatching.


These jays are omnivorous. In captivity: Paradise Earth Premium Softball Blend, mixed dried insects and fruit.