Crows (Corvidae)

Western Scrub-jay (Aphelocoma californica) - HBW 14, p. 571

French: Geai buissonnier German: Kalifornienhäher Spanish: Chara Californiana
Other common names: Scrub/California Jay; California Scrub-jay ("nominate group"); Woodhouse's Scrub-jay ("woodhouseii group"); Sumichrast's Scrub-jay (sumichrasti, remota)

Taxonomy: Garrulus californicus Vigors, 1839, Monterey = Monterey County, California, USA.
May form a superspecies with A. insularis and A. coerulescens, and the three previously treated as conspecific. Relationships of this group with A. ultramarina and A. unicolor yet to be resolved, as recent studies indicate that divergence of these three major lineages within the genus was apparently rapid, leading to conflict among genetic markers. Present species hybridizes with A. coerulescens in captivity and may perhaps hybridize with Cyanocitta stelleri in the wild. Subspecies fall into three fairly well-defined groups, "nominate group" (incorpor.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Garrulus californicus Vigors, 1839, Monterey = Monterey County, California, USA.
May form a superspecies with A. insularis and A. coerulescens, and the three previously treated as conspecific. Relationships of this group with A. ultramarina and A. unicolor yet to be resolved, as recent studies indicate that divergence of these three major lineages within the genus was apparently rapid, leading to conflict among genetic markers. Present species hybridizes with A. coerulescens in captivity and may perhaps hybridize with Cyanocitta stelleri in the wild. Subspecies fall into three fairly well-defined groups, "nominate group" (incorporating also immanis, caurina, oocleptica, obscura, cana and hypoleuca), "woodhouseii group" (incorporating also nevadae, texana, grisea and cyanotis), and "sumichrasti group" (with remota); these possibly represent three distinct species. Race cana is possibly merely a hybrid between nominate race and obscura; immanis, caurina and oocleptica sometimes subsumed in nominate. Proposed race cactophila (from C Baja California, in NW Mexico) synonymized with hypoleuca; birds from SC USA and NC Mexico described as suttoni, but considered inseparable from nevadae. Fourteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • immanis Grinnell, 1901 - NW USA (W Washington, coastal and interior Oregon).
  • caurina Pitelka, 1951 - from coastal S Oregon S to California (Napa and Sonoma Counties, and E to inner Coast Ranges).
  • oocleptica Swarth, 1918 - SC Oregon S to interior C California (including Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys and adjacent Coast Ranges S to San Francisco peninsula), Sierra Nevada foothills and E to W Nevada.

     See all 14 subspecies
  • immanis Grinnell, 1901 - NW USA (W Washington, coastal and interior Oregon).
  • caurina Pitelka, 1951 - from coastal S Oregon S to California (Napa and Sonoma Counties, and E to inner Coast Ranges).
  • oocleptica Swarth, 1918 - SC Oregon S to interior C California (including Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys and adjacent Coast Ranges S to San Francisco peninsula), Sierra Nevada foothills and E to W Nevada.
  • californica ( Vigors, 1839) - Coast Range of C California (from San Mateo County and SE Alameda County S to SW Ventura County).
  • obscura Anthony, 1889 - SW California (highlands of Mojave Desert) and extreme NW Mexico (N Baja California).
  • cana Pitelka, 1951 - Eagle Mt, in Joshua Tree National Park (SE California).
  • hypoleuca Ridgway, 1887 - C & S Baja California.
  • nevadae Pitelka, 1945 - interior SW USA (throughout Great Basin, mountains in Death Valley and Mojave Desert, and SW New Mexico) S to N Mexico (NE Sonora and NW Chihuahua).
  • woodhouseii ( S. F. Baird, 1858) - foothills of Rocky Mts from Utah and S Wyoming S to N Arizona and Colorado, E to W Oklahoma and Texas (including Big Bend), and N Mexico (N Chihuahua).
  • texana Ridgway, 1902 - Edwards Plateau (WC Texas).
  • grisea Nelson, 1899 - NW Mexico (Sierra Madre Occidental, mostly in Chihuahua).
  • cyanotis Ridgway, 1887 - E Mexico (lower Sierra Madre Oriental).
  • sumichrasti ( Ridgway, 1874) - S Mexico (Distrito Federal E to Veracruz, Oaxaca and Isthmus of Tehuantepec).
  • remota Griscom, 1934 - SW Oaxaca and C Guerrero, in S Mexico.