The Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas) is a bird species of the New World jays, which exhibits distinct regional variations within its large but discontinuous range. This stretches from southern Texas south into Mexico and Central America, with a break before the species reappears in a broad sweep across the highlands (primarily the Andes) of South America in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. It has been suggested that the North American taxa should be considered separate species, Cyanocoraxa luxuosus. If followed this taxonomy, the northern species retains the common name Green Jay, while the South American population, which retains the scientific name C. yncas, is renamed the Inca Jay.
Green Jays have feathers of yellowish-white with blue tips on the top of the head, cheeks and nape, though some taxa have more blue than others, and the crown can appear almost entirely white in some South American subspecies. A black bib forms a thick band up to the sides of the head as well as a stripe through the eye line and one above it. The breast and underparts typically are bright to dull yellow, or strongly green-tinged in the far northermost part of its range. The upperparts are rich green. It has large nasal bristles that form a distinct tuft in some subspecies, but are less developed in others. The color of the iris ranges from dark brownish to bright yellow depending on the subspecies.
Green Jays feed on a wide range of insects and other invertebrates, as well as on acorns and various cereal grains. They take ebony seeds where these occur, and also any oak species' acorns, as this jay will readily store them for hard times. Meat and human scraps add to the diet when opportunity arises. Green Jays have been observed using sticks as tools to extract insects from tree bark.
Green Jays usually build a nest in a tree or in a thorny bush or thicket, and the female lays 3 to 5 eggs. Only the female incubates, but both parents take care of the young.
As with most of the typical jays, this species has a very extensive voice repertoire. The bird's most common call makes a rassh-rassh-rassh sound, but many other unusual notes also occur. One of the most distinctive calls sounds like an alarm bell.
Inca Jay at Cerro El Ávila, Venezuela