The Plush Crested Jay stands out with its bright blue eyeliner and stylized sideburns that are carefully crafted. Its pale yellow and black suit adds to its striking appearance.
The plush-crested jay, scientifically known as Cyanocorax chrysops, is a stunning bird that measures as a medium-sized species. The bird’s underparts, including its chin, throat, neck sides, and breast, are all black, while the remaining underparts range from creamy-white to pale yellowish. Its under tail is graduated with rectrices that are creamy to pale yellowish, with dark bases. The bird’s forehead has stiff feathers that transition into softer feathers on the crown, forming a crest that feels like velvet. Its forehead, crown, and head sides are black, with a glittering ultramarine crescent above its eyes. Another similar colored spot below its eye merges into a cyan-blue malar stripe, forming a V. Its nape is a pale ultramarine that blends into pure ultramarine further down the neck. Its bill is black, eyes yellow, and legs and feet black.
The male and female birds appear to be full of life. Young birds have a less vibrant nape and their facial pattern only becomes noticeable after a month.
You can spot these lovely birds in the central and southern regions of South America, particularly in countries like Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and the northeastern part of Argentina.
The Plush-crested Jay is often spotted in forested areas, ranging from lowland evergreen and tropical deciduous forests to temperate rainforests. Its habitat usually spans up to an elevation of 1500 meters, but it has been known to appear as high as 2800 meters in Bolivia.
The Plush-crested Jay primarily consumes small invertebrates, particularly insects. However, it is also known to consume fruits from various plant species such as Ficus, Phylodendrum, Casearia, Syagros, Psidium and Rapanea. When the opportunity arises, it may also prey on nestlings and eggs of other bird species, frogs, seeds and maize.
These avian creatures can be quite collaborative when it comes to reproduction, with a pair of offspring from the previous breeding season pitching in to help with nesting tasks and safeguarding their habitat. They construct a cozy, cup-shaped nest using twigs, which they line with fibrous plant material and smaller twigs, typically perched 4 to 7 meters aboveground amidst dense foliage. The mother lays a clutch of 2 to 4 eggs, speckled in appearance, and the incubation period lasts approximately 18 to 20 days. The father provides food for the mother and chicks, who are able to fly after 22 to 24 days post-hatching.
Deforestation poses a serious threat to the survival of the Plush-crested Jay. However, there is still hope as this species is adaptable and can thrive in smaller forest areas of 10-20 hectares, provided they are not too far away from larger forests.
Check out this video where you can observe and hear the sounds of this feathered creature: