Plush-crested Jay Cyanocorax chrysops

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Corvidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Sarah K. Reich


Geographic Variation

Three subspecies of Plush-crested Jay usually are recognized:

nominate chrysops; described as Pica chrysops by Vieillot in 1818, with a type locality of Paraguay. Occurs from in southern Brazil, north to Matto Grosso and São Paulo, west to Bolivia and south to Uruguay, Paraguay and northeastern Argentina.
Description as above in Detailed Appearance.

tucumanus; described as Cyanocorax tucumanus by Cabanis in 1883, with a type locality of Tucumán, Argentina. Occurs in northwestern Argentina, in the provinces of La Rioja, Catamarca, Tucumán, and perhaps Salta. Averages larger in size than nominate chrysops, but there is slight overlap in measurements between the two. Other reported differences from chrysops, such as a heavier bill, longer frontal crest, and darker coloration to the upperparts, were found by Hellmayr (1934) to be typical of only "a small percentage" of specimens from within the range of tucumanus.

diesingii; described as Cyanocorax diesingii by Pelzeln in 1856, with a type locality of Borba, Amazonas, Brazil. Similar to nominate chrysops, but larger, almost the size of tucumanus. The feathers of the crown are stiffer and more elongated; the blue spots on the side of the head are smaller and darker; the malar stripe is narrower and is pale lilac blue (not deep violet blue); the hind neck is uniformly whitish blue, not shading rearward into violet; and the bill is shorter (Hellmayr 1934).

Related Species

Recent genetic work, based on DNA sequence data from two mitochondrial genes (NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 and cytochrome b) and from three nuclear loci (the adenylate kinase intron, the ß-fibrinogen intron 7, and TGFß2.5) demonstrates that the genus Cyanocorax is not monophyletic (Bonaccorso et al. 2010). Cyanocorax and related genera form two clades. One clade (their Clade B) is composed of most species of Cyanocorax (including the "Cissilopha" group); the second clade (their Clade A) contained four species of Cyanocorax as well the genera Psilorhinus (Brown Jay) and Calocitta (Black-throated and White-throated magpie-jays). Cyanocorax chryops is a member of Clade B; the sister species to chrysops is the White-naped Jay Cyanocorax cyanopogon.

Clade A of Bonaccorso et al. (2010) consists of Curl-crested Jay (Cyanocorax cristatellus),  Purplish Jay (Cyanocorax cyanomelas), Azure Jay (Cyanocorax caeruleus), and Violaceous Jay (Cyanocorax violaceus).

Recommended Citation

Reich, S. K. (2010). Plush-crested Jay (Cyanocorax chrysops), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.