There are eight different subspecies recognized for Dacnis cayana (Dickinson and Christidis 2014, Clements et al. 2015). These subspecies differ primarily in the shade of blue in the adult males, and in the color of the head in females.
Dacnis cayana cayana (Linnaeus, 1766)
The nominate subspecies was described by the father or taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus, based on "Le Pipit Bleu de Cayenne" of Brisson, 1760, from Cayenne, French Guiana (Storer 1970). It is distributed from eastern Columbia (from Meta eastward), throughout most of Venezuela, to Trinidad, through Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, and in northern and central Brazil (Storer 1970, Clements et al. 2015). See detailed description for appearance.
Dacnis cayana ultramarina Lawrence, 1864
This subspecies was described from New Granada, Isthmus of Panama, near the abandoned Lion Hill Railroad Station (Storer 1970). It is found from the Caribbean slope of northwestern Honduras, eastern Costa Rica, throughout Panama, to Northwestern Columbia (Storer 1970, Clements et al. 2015). The males of this subspecies are bluer instead of turquoise, and females have a whiter throat and are bluer on the sides of the head (Restall et al. 2007). Compared to the other Central American subspecies, D. c. ultramarina males are bright ultramarine blue instead and females have gray throats, whereas D. c. callaina males are light turquoise blue and females have blue-tinged throats (Wetmore et al. 1984). This subspecies differs from the nominate race in being more medium-blue, less turquoise (Hilty 2011).
Dacnis cayana callaina Bangs, 1905
This subspecies was described from Divala, Chiriqui, Panama (Storer 1970). It is found in western Costa Rica from the Río Grande de Tarcoles south to western Panama near Chiriquí (Storer 1970, Clements et al. 2015). This subspecies resembles D. c. cayana (Isler and Isler 1987). Compared to the other Central American subspecies (D. c. ultramarina), D. c. callaina is light turquoise blue instead of bright ultramarine blue, and has brighter cerulean plumage than the nominate subspecies (Wetmore et al. 1984, Hilty 2011).
Dacnis cayana napaea Bangs, 1898
This subspecies was described from Santa Marta, Colombia, and it is restricted to the tropical areas of northern Columbia from the Santa Marta region to the lower Magdalena Valley and southwest along the Caribbean coast to the east side of the Gulf of Urabá (Storer 1970, Clements et al. 2015). The males of this subspecies are an intense cobalt blue, intermediate between blue-violet D. c. coerebicolor and the blue (not turquoise) D. c. ultramarina; females are bluish-violet on the head, more similar to D. c. coerebicolor (Restall et al. 2007, Hilty 2011).
Dacnis cayana baudoana: Meyer de Schauensee, 1946
This subspecies was described from the Río Baudó, Chocó, Colombia (Storer 1970). It is found from tropical parts of the Pacific slope of southwestern Columbia from the Baudó Mountains, likely to the western slope in Ecuador (Storer 1970, Clements et al. 2015). This subspecies is purple-tinged, but bluer than the more violet D. c. coerebicolor subspecies; it is more purple than the blue D. c. ultramarina subspecies (Restall et al. 2007). The females of this subspecies have a bluish violet head, which is brighter than the females in D. c. glaucogularis (Restall et al. 2007, Hilty 2011).
Dacnis cayana coerebicolor Sclater, 1851
This subspecies was described as Dacnis coerebicolor from the uncertain locality of New Granada (Bogotá collections), and is found in central Columbia in the Cauca and Magdalena valleys (Storer 1970, Clements et al. 2015). The males of this subspecies are the most deeply colored bluish-violet to purplish, and females have a bluish-violet head (Restall et al. 2007, Hilty 2011).
Dacnis cayana glaucogularis Berlepsh and Stolzmann, 1896
This subspecies was described from La Gloria and La Merced, Peru, with La Merced designated as the type locality, fide Sztolcman and Domaniewski, 1927 (Storer 1970). It is found from southern Columbia in the area of Caquetá and Putumayo, through eastern Ecuador and eastern Peru to Bolivia (Storer 1970, Clements et al. 2015). The males of this subspecies are lighter turquoise blue than the nominate subspecies with throats less deep black, and the females have a much deeper blue on the top and sides of the head (Restall et al. 2007).
Dacnis cayana paraguayensis Chub, 1910
This subspecies was described from material from Mato Grosso, Brazil and the Sapucay, Paraguay type locality (Storer 1970). It is found from Paraguay and northeastern Argentina, north to Maranhão and Ceará, Brazil (Storer 1970, Clements et al. 2015). This subspecies resembles D. c. cayana, but has more green on the throat, and is paler blue than D. c. glaucogularis (Chub 1910, Isler and Isler 1987, Hilty 2011).