Dan Mennill's Bird Songs of the Yucatan Peninsula - Home
Brown Jay (Cyanocorax morio)

© Howell & Webb, 1995
Brown Jay calls from a single bird - Calakmul
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Brown Jay calls from two chorusing birds - Nueva Becal
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Song Description:

Few bird vocalizations of the Yucatan surpass the call of the Brown Jay in terms of amplitude.  The common call is a deafening chaa, repeated over and over often by large flocks of jays from high in the canopy.  At close range, a pop sound can be heard preceding each syllable.

Song Measures:

Each call is a wide-band (500 to 5000 Hz) downslurred syllable, lasting between 0.3 and 0.6 seconds.  Calls are hurriedly repeated at a rate of one every 0.6 to 1.1 seconds, and are given most rapidly when multiple birds are calling simultaneously (N = four long bouts from a solo calling bird and two long bouts from > two calling birds).  The longest calling bout I heard lasted more than five minutes.  The popping at the beginning of each syllable is produced by the jay inflating its furcular sac.

Singing Behaviour:

Large flocks of Brown Jays are often heard long before they are seen approaching, giving their calls in flight and alighting high within the thick forest canopy.  The jays continue calling from their perches, and frequently continue as they fly away en masse.  On several occasions, large flocks (ie. > 10 individuals) of Brown Jays were found pursuing an even larger flock (ie. > 40 individuals) of Montezuma Oropendolas through the forest.


I recorded Brown Jays in the dense second-growth forest near Nueva Becal and in much greater numbers in the mature humid forest in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve.

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All information and photographs copyright Daniel J. Mennill 1999.
No recordings or other information from this site may be used without written permission from me. 
Please email me (dmennill AT uwindsor DOT ca) and I will happily grant permission for any non-commercial or education purposes.