Crows (Corvidae)

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) - HBW 14, p. 568

French: Geai bleu German: Blauhäher Spanish: Chara Azul

Taxonomy: Corvus cristatus Linnaeus, 1758, in America septentrionali = south-eastern South Carolina, USA.
Genus closest to Gymnorhinus and Aphelocoma. Analyses of mitochondrial DNA suggest that this species and C. stelleri likely split from a common ancestor over 5 million years ago (cytochrome b gene divergence of 10.7%). Known to hybridize with C. stelleri, and also with Aphelocoma coerulescens and Cyanocorax yncas. Geographical variation rather weak and clinal, and semplei perhaps better subsumed in nominate; review desirable. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • bromia Oberholser, 1921 - S Canada from E British Columbia E to Newfoundland, S in USA from North Dakota to NE Nebraska and C Missouri and, in E, to SC Illinois, C Indiana, NE Kentucky, NE Tennessee and SC Virginia.
  • cyanotephra Sutton, 1935 - from SE Wyoming and Nebraska (except NE) S through E Colorado, W Kansas and Oklahoma to N Texas.
  • cristata ( Linnaeus, 1758) - from S Missouri, S Illinois, SW Indiana, W Kentucky, Tennessee (except extreme NE), SW Virginia and North Carolina S to SE Texas, coastal Gulf of Mexico and C Florida.
  • semplei Todd, 1928 - S half of Florida (S from Hillsborough and Osceola counties).