Over 3 years we observed the breeding behavior of four groups of the Sichuan Jay (Perisoreus internigrans), a poorly known Chinese endemic restricted to fragments of high-altitude spruce—fir forest on the east side of the Qinghai—Tibetan Plateau. The first seven known nests of this species were well hidden in tall conifers at 3350–3700 m above sea level, and clutches were initiated in cold, snowy conditions in late March and early April. Only the presumed breeding males fed incubating females, but all members of a group (mean size 3.8) regularly fed nestlings and fledglings. We contrast this pattern of alloparenting with that seen in the two other species of Perisoreus: alloparenting is restricted to the fledgling period in the Gray Jay (P. canadensis) and entirely absent in the Siberian Jay (P. infaustus). The differences may be explained by differences in the defensive capabilities of the three species and/ or by differences in the abundance and capabilities of their potential nest predators.
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Vol. 111 • No. 4