Green Jay

Cyanocorax yncas
Range Map

Like all members of the Corvid clan, Green Jays are resourceful. They use tools when they need them, and they imitate the sounds of predators to scare other birds from food sources they are interested in.

And just look at them! How can you not love a bird dressed as these are? They are perhaps the most iconic bird in southern Texas. If dazzling colors were not enough to love, those Groucho Marx eyebrows should bring on our smiles.

Green Jays are non migratory. Members of the so-called Green group live on the coastal plains from northern Central America and north to southern Texas. Most of their population is on the east coast of Meso-America, but there is also a population living on the Pacific slopes of southern Mexico. The South American members (so-called Inca group) range through the northwestern mountains of that continent.

Today’s science recognises eleven subspecies in two groups (Inca and Green). There are regional differences, as well as physical characteristic variations among the subspecies.

Members of the Green (Central and North America) group include:

  • C. y. speciosus: Lives on the Pacific slope of Mexico in Nayarit and Jalisco
  • C. y. vividus: Lives in low to mid-levels of mountains of southern Guerrero to south-central Oaxaca.
  • C. y. luxuosus: Lives from south Texas to eastern Mexico
  • C. y. centralis: Lives in southeastern Mexico, northeastern Guatemala, Belize and Honduras
  • C. y. maya: Lives on the Yucatán Peninsula

Members of the Inca (South America) group include:

  • C. y. galeatus: Lives in Colombia
  • C. y. cyanodorsalis: Lives in Colombia and northwestern and Venezuela
  • C. y. andicolus: Lives in northern Venezuela
  • C. y. guatimalensis: Lives in northern Venezuela
  • C. y. yncas: Lives in southwestern Colombia and south through Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia
  • C. y. longirostris: Lives in northern Peru

When I visit South Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley, I look forward to meeting these splendid birds. Whether at nature reserves, or neighborhood yards with feeders, few birds rival their antics or garish good looks!

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