Crows (Corvidae)

Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) - HBW 14, p. 568

French: Geai de Steller German: Diademhäher Spanish: Chara de Steller

Taxonomy: Corvus stelleri J. F. Gmelin, 1788, in Sinu Natka Americae borealis = Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
Genus closest to Gymnorhinus and Aphelocoma. Analyses of mitochondrial DNA suggest that this species and C. cristata likely split from a common ancestor over 5 million years ago (cytochrome b gene divergence of 10.7%). Occasionally hybridizes with C. cristata. Race suavis intergrades with lazula; latter poorly differentiated, possibly better merged with ridgwayi; also, teotepecensis and ridgwayi subsumed in coronata by some taxonomists. Sixteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • stelleri ( J. F. Gmelin, 1788) - S Alaska and coastal British Columbia S to NW Oregon.
  • carlottae Osgood, 1901 - Queen Charlotte Is (off British Columbia).
  • annectens ( S. F. Baird, 1874) - Rocky Mts of interior British Columbia and SW Alberta (Canada) S in USA to E Washington, Idaho, Montana, E Oregon and Wyoming.

     See all 16 subspecies
  • stelleri ( J. F. Gmelin, 1788) - S Alaska and coastal British Columbia S to NW Oregon.
  • carlottae Osgood, 1901 - Queen Charlotte Is (off British Columbia).
  • annectens ( S. F. Baird, 1874) - Rocky Mts of interior British Columbia and SW Alberta (Canada) S in USA to E Washington, Idaho, Montana, E Oregon and Wyoming.
  • frontalis ( Ridgway, 1873) - C Oregon S through mountains to E California and WC Nevada.
  • carbonacea Grinnell, 1900 - N California (counties of Marin, Contra Costa and Monterey).
  • macrolopha S. F. Baird, 1854 - S Rocky Mts from SW South Dakota S to Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, E to Nebraska and W Texas, and S to N Mexico (N Sonora and Chihuahua).
  • diademata ( Bonaparte, 1850) - Sierra Madre Occidental from SE Sonora and SW Chihuahua S to Durango and Jalisco; also E Nuevo León.
  • phillipsi Browning, 1993 - C Mexico (SC San Luis Potosí).
  • purpurea Aldrich, 1944 - SC Mexico (N & C Michoacán).
  • coronata ( Swainson, 1827) - E Mexico (SE San Luis Potosí and N Veracruz S to Puebla).
  • azteca Ridgway, 1899 - WC Veracruz S to México, Morelos and W Puebla.
  • teotepecensis R. T. Moore, 1954 - high mountains of C & S Guerrero, in S Mexico.
  • restricta A. R. Phillips, 1966 - Oaxaca, in S Mexico.
  • ridgwayi W. deW. Miller & Griscom, 1925 - highlands of SE Mexico (Chiapas) and adjacent Guatemala.
  • lazula van Rossem, 1928 - El Salvador and SW Honduras.
  • suavis W. deW. Miller & Griscom, 1925 - highlands of E El Salvador, Honduras and N Nicaragua.