White-throated magpie-jays are cooperative breeders, with family members helping a breeding pair to care for and raise young.
Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous) ; cooperative breeder
White-throated magpie-jays generally breed from January through April. In small groups, one female breeder is typically responsible for incubating all of the eggs, and rarely leaves the nest during this time. Other females bring food to her throughout the incubation process. Males do not play an active role in reproduction, outside of the initial act of fertilizing the eggs.
Breeding interval: White-throated magpie-jays generally breed once in the first 4 months of the year, however under circumstances in which the first nest is lost or fails the birds will lay more eggs.
Breeding season: Breeding occurs from January through April.
Range eggs per season: 2 to 6.
Average eggs per season: 3-4.
Average fledging age: 23 days.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 8 to 14 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 8 to 14 months.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
Young birds are fed in the nest by their mother and other helper females. Females typically stay within the same natal area as they mature, whereas males generally leave the flock either to join another group or to move from group to group.
Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female); post-independence association with parents
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- Ellis, J., T. Langen, E. Berg. 2008. Signalling for food and sex? Begging by reproductive female white-throated magpie-jays. Animal Behavior, 78.3: 615-623.
- Gray, G., J. Del Hoyo. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World V.14. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions.
- Innes, K., R. Johnston. 1995. Cooperative breeding in the white-throated magpie-jay. How do auxiliaries influence nesting success?. Animal Behavior, 51.3: 519-533.
- Langen, T. 1996. Skill acquisition and the timing of natal dispersal in the white-throated magpie-jay. Animal Behaviour, 51: 575-588.
- Langen, T. 1996. Social Learning of a Novel Foraging Skill by White-throated Magpie-jays (Calocitta formosa, Corvidae) a Field Experiment. Ethology, 102: 157-166.
- Langen, T., S. Vehrencamp. 1998. Ecological Factors Affecting Group and Territory Size in White-Throated Magpie-Jays. The Auk, 115/2: 327-339.
- Madge, S., H. Burn. 1999. Crows & Jays. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.