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Help me identify a large blue long tailed bird


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#1 caroler

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:27 AM

Hi.  I live in southern California very close the the Mexican Border.  On occasion I see some very large blue birds with very long tails, like pheasant tails but these birds are flying and perch in trees.  There was a small group of them.  They were about two feet long from head to tail tip.  Yesterday they were in the yard next door and spent about five minutes there flying around, perching on the balcony, and hopping around in the tree branches.  They were too skinny to be peafowl, but they were almost that bright blue.  Their heads had some kind of a crest or feather on the top.  What am I seeing?  Is it an exotic bird pet that escaped or went wild, or is it a native bird?  I would appreciate any answer.  I'm in the San Diego area.  My first thought was that it was some kind of pheasant, but I haven't found any pictures of pheasants that look like this.  Besides, like I said, this bird flies a lot.  I"ve even seen them perching on the wires.  Thanks to anyone for helping me.   

#2 PONYRCR

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:47 AM

Black-throated Magpie Jay. The are native to an area of southern(?) Mexico.  However, I believe they are sold as caged birds in Tijunana.

I've heard there are some feral ones in the San Diego area.

Several years ago one turned up in my city. I live just south of LAX.  The first time I saw it I nearly drove into a parked car LOL.  A few days later I just about fell over when I looked out my window and saw it at my feeder.

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#3 caroler

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:52 AM

Thank you for answering so quickly.   Yes, I think that might be what I saw.  I'm glad I haven't been hallucinating.  I was thinking, they're about the size of magpie.  That explains why I can't find them in any US bird guide.  Thanks again.

#4 Crookedrecords

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 09:57 AM

I live in Bonita, CA and literally ran inside to jump on the Internet and try to identify the exact same bird that you have described.  It is not the bird in the photo that has been posted.  A group of three landed in a tree 10 feet from me while I was in my backyard and unfortunately I didn't have my cell phone with me to take a photo.

The birds look exotic.  They have an almost exact silhouette of a pheasant with the same tail features but they are blue.  They also have some white and they have two white features on their head like a quail.  At first it looked like one thing ( i can't remember the name) but when it landed so close I got another look and it had two.  The best way to describe this bird is to cross a quail and a pheasant and color it blue.  It does make a unique squak.



#5 Crookedrecords

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 10:06 AM

I now have my camera at the ready to take a photo.  I remember having a discussion with some neighbors about the birds and they said that they have been around for a while.  They come and go it seems.  My guess is that it's some kind of exotic bird that escaped or was released.  In any case, it sounds like a fun mystery to solve so I'll be on the lookout.....

#6 Crookedrecords

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 11:49 AM

Mystery solved.  It is a WHITE throated magpie jay.  The black throat on the uploaded picture threw me off.  Here are some pics of a white throated jay.  This is what I saw in my yard.....

 



#7 Photgog

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 12:05 PM

This one???

Fraser

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#8 PONYRCR

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 12:08 PM

Just curious...Did you take that pic? Is that the bird in your yard?

Not saying what you saw isn't a White-throated Magpie Jay.  But, according to Howell & Web's A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America the Black-throated Magpie Jay "may be mostly white-throated". 

 



#9 Photgog

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 12:40 PM

I'm not sure that PONYRACER is asking me of the photo... but Yes I took this shot... in Huatulco Mexico... Mar 09.

Fraser



#10 PONYRCR

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 12:46 PM

Photgog:

I'm not sure that PONYRACER is asking me of the photo... but Yes I took this shot... in Huatulco Mexico... Mar 09.

Fraser

Fraser I was asking Crookedrecords if the picture they posted was one they took of the bird in their yard.

Sorry for any confusion.  I think we posted about the same time.



#11 Crookedrecords

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 02:05 PM

No, the photo that I linked to was not one that I took.  I did a google image search and was trying to find a white throated magpie that looked just like what I had seen.  It looked as though there were even some variations in the images online so I tried to pick the closest looking one.  The first link didn't work and now it looks like the second link is not working either.  Some of the differences had to do with the color of the "crests" they might be called? on the head.  Some photos show dark crests and the ones I saw had lighter colored ones.  I was looking for a pic that had two individual lighter colored crests, and the white throat.

I will still attempt to get an actual photo of the ones from my neighborhood.

 I'm sorry Pony, after re-reading your post I think that I mis-understood you.  You are stating that an actual black throated magpie can have an almost all white throat and what I mean to say is that the bird that I saw has an almost all or all white throat.  You are correct.  I have absolutely no knowledge of birds or how to identify them and mistakenly thought that a black throated would be the one with the black throat and the one with a mostly white throat would have been the white throated but I had just assumed and so I am probably wrong.  I was just excited to think that I may have found the bird that I was looking for...

To clarify...the bird that I saw did not have an all black throat.  Exactlty what it is I don't know...but it looks like what i saw when I googled white throated magpie jay....



#12 Photgog

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 04:02 PM

This is interesting... I post a picture of a White-throated Magpie Jay... which is the subject of the Poster... and get no comment and or acknowledgment of the photo or attempt to Identify.

It is as if the picture did not appear on the thread.  Any else see the photo that I posted???

Fraser



#13 lonesome55dove

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 04:19 PM

Photgog:

This is interesting... I post a picture of a White-throated Magpie Jay... which is the subject of the Poster... and get no comment and or acknowledgment of the photo or attempt to Identify.

It is as if the picture did not appear on the thread.  Any else see the photo that I posted???

Fraser

 

 

Yep, I see it...it is a beautiful photo !!! L55D



#14 Crookedrecords

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 04:27 PM

Fraser,

Thanks for the pic.  I don't know if the original poster has seen it yet but what you have posted sure does look exactly like what I saw today.  Now that I know what to look for I will be sure to take note and try my best to take pictures of my own.  Thanks for helping to clear up the mystery for me.  Hopefully the original poster will see it and get the answer they were looking for as well.

Thanks to everyone who replied by the way.  This website was very helpful and I appreciate it.....



#15 Photgog

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 05:46 PM

OK Great... Welcome to Whatbird...

Fraser



#16 caroler

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 07:15 PM

Wow, I haven't been on the computer for a few days, but thanks for all the replies.  The birds I saw looked a little more like the second photo that was posted.  I looked up magpie jays and it looks like they cross breed?  So maybe some of the black-throated jays have more white than others. There was one photo I cant see,  The one that was above the stamp.  I've really learned alot about a different kind of bird.  What was most frustrating was that it didn't appear in any of the bird guids I looked at.  Thanks again. 

#17 djangocrazy

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 08:52 AM

Caroler,

I first saw this bird in the early spring this year but didn't get a good look at it.  My first thought was an escaped blue macaw, but the beak was not hooked. Then last week I saw it fly into our crepe myrtle "tree" and a few days later got some good photos.  Maybe this will help with identification.  Is this like the one you saw?  BTW I am in the East County of San Diego.

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#18 djangocrazy

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 08:54 AM


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#19 djangocrazy

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 08:56 AM

Here is another

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#20 djangocrazy

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 08:57 AM

Last one!

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