Tufted Jay is restricted to montane areas of the Sierra Occidental in Mexico. The IUCN Red List status of the Tufted Jay is Near Threatened, due to its limited distribution and small global population (an estimated breeding population of 10,000-19,999 mature individuals and distribution of about 13,400 km2; BirdLife International 2014). It is considered Endangered under Mexican Law (Escalante and Nequiz 2004; NOM-059 SEMARNAT 2010). Tufted Jay also is considered a species at greatest risk of extinction by Partners in Flight (Berlanga et al. 2010). Based on determinations of habitat loss, Berlanga et al. (2010) estimated that 15-49% of its population has been lost during the last century.
A significant population of Tufted Jays is found at the "El Palmito" ejido in Concordia (Sinaloa), which in 2004 established a community conservation plan, to promote alternative productive activities such as ecotourism, selective logging and environmental education (Vega Picos 2004).