Photo of the Day – The White-throated Magpie-Jay (Calocitta formosa) is a highly social bird that breeds cooperatively and is found in Central America. Unusually, female offspring tend to stay in the group and help raise future broods. So groups usually contain a dominant female, her mate and a number of female offspring.
These jays are found from southwestern Mexico through much of western Central America to Costa Rica. Feeding mostly on fruits during the dry season, along with caterpillars and other insects during the wet season, they also eat small vertebrates, eggs, and nectar. Highly social birds, they breed cooperatively, but unlike in most cooperatively breeding bird species the helpers are female. Young males disperse to other areas, often visiting multiple social groups in a day. Dominant females are mostly faithful to their mates, but sometimes breed with these unattached males. The helper females occasionally also nest on their own, with other group members helping them only if the main female’s nest is unsuccessful. When they find a low-threat predator, both males and females fly toward it, calling. Males show off their complex vocal ability during these alarm calls.