The most beautiful chachalaca in the world calls Natikari its home. It is also the loudest bird we have. Chachalacas (I like to call them tree chickens) wander around in pairs or small groups, love dust baths and are also a regular visitor at the feeder. They prefer to eat on the ground, so they tend to throw everything off the feeder. They can get panicked easily and I have the suspicion they are not the brightest spark in the bird world. They love their partner though. Like parrots you can often see them grooming each other.
Dressed to kill with its sharply contrasted black and yellow feathers and its fountain like crest, the Cacique can’t be missed. Outside the breeding season they like to wander around with the similarly spectacular magpie jays. But come the breeding season they will start defending their patch (an artfully woven hanging nest) against any intruder. You can sometimes watch two Caciques fighting in mid-air, letting go of each other only at the last second. Their calls are heard all day and one call even sounds like a movie spaceship shooting lasers.
They also love fruits- enough to steal bananas and mangos from under my nose, and are a regular at our bird bath.
You can find them in the tropical lowlands of west Mexico.
Black-throated Magpie Jay
I dare say, the black-throated magpie jay is one of our most flamboyant birds. The long tail and their elegant silhouette, especially in flight, never ceases to awe. They are also easily spotted- well they come and find you! Curious and a little bully at heart, they will gather around anything suspicious and let the whole jungle know you are where you are. Once you know their distinctive call, they can even help you to discover a coati or a raptor that is getting too close to their flock. Like the caciques they are a huge fan of fruit and also love peanuts. So if you want to get on their good side, don’t forget to bring a bag. (Natural peanuts! Salty or chilly peanuts just disappear into Hernan).
You can find this jay in northwest Mexico, south of Jalisco/ Colima you will meet its sister species: the white-throated magpie jay. Maybe they are just one species, as hybrids are not uncommon and we even have two at Natikari that have quite a distinctive “southern” look.