Crows (Corvidae)

Asian Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) - HBW 14, p. 598

French: Pie-bleue à calotte noire German: Azurelster Spanish: Rabilargo Asiático

Taxonomy: Corvus cyanus Pallas, 1776, Dauria = Transbaikalia (southern Siberia), Russia.
Recent DNA-sequencing indicates that this genus and Perisoreus form unique clades, separate from other corvids; significance of this requires further research. Usually treated as conspecific with C. cooki, but fossilized remains of latter (previously thought introduced) indicate that its distribution is natural; also, DNA studies of genus indicated that the two forms diverged at least one million years ago, and should be treated as separate species; clarification of vocal differences required. Geographical variation partly clinal, intergrading of mainland races making assessment.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Corvus cyanus Pallas, 1776, Dauria = Transbaikalia (southern Siberia), Russia.
Recent DNA-sequencing indicates that this genus and Perisoreus form unique clades, separate from other corvids; significance of this requires further research. Usually treated as conspecific with C. cooki, but fossilized remains of latter (previously thought introduced) indicate that its distribution is natural; also, DNA studies of genus indicated that the two forms diverged at least one million years ago, and should be treated as separate species; clarification of vocal differences required. Geographical variation partly clinal, intergrading of mainland races making assessment tricky; validity of koreensis, stegmanni, swinhoei and kansuensis perhaps questionable. Other proposed races are tristis (described from near Chita, in Transbaikalia) and pallescens (from Radde, on R Amur, in extreme SE Russia), both synonymized with nominate, and jeholica (C Jehol, in NE China), treated as synonym of interposita. Seven subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • cyanus ( Pallas, 1776) - NW & N Mongolia (E from Uliastay) E across Transbaikalia and S Yakutia to SE Russia (Amurland and Ussuriland), S to NE China (N Heilongjiang).
  • japonica Parrot, 1905 - C Japan (N & C Honshu).
  • stegmanni Meise, 1932 - S Heilongjiang (NE China).

     See all 7 subspecies
  • cyanus ( Pallas, 1776) - NW & N Mongolia (E from Uliastay) E across Transbaikalia and S Yakutia to SE Russia (Amurland and Ussuriland), S to NE China (N Heilongjiang).
  • japonica Parrot, 1905 - C Japan (N & C Honshu).
  • stegmanni Meise, 1932 - S Heilongjiang (NE China).
  • koreensis Yamashina, 1939 - Korean Peninsula.
  • kansuensis Meise, 1937 - NC China (NE Qinghai, W Gansu and NW Sichuan).
  • interposita E. J. O. Hartert, 1917 - N China from Ningxia and E Gansu and Shaanxi E to Hebei and Shandong.
  • swinhoei E. J. O. Hartert, 1903 - EC & E China (N & C Sichuan E to Zhejiang and Jiangxi).