Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay

Aphelocoma woodhouseii
Range Map

In 2016, scientists decided the species we once called the Western Scrub-Jay was actually two separate species, and so the California Scrub-Jay and the Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay were born. Where the California bird lives along the west coast, from Oregon to Baja California (Mexico) and preferring oak woodland habitat, the Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay lives inland across the Great Basin, southern Rockies and south through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico, preferring pinyon pine habitat.

To date, my meetings with the Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay have been in New Mexico and West Texas. Growing up in Southern California as I did, I’m more familiar with the California Scrub-Jay.

Today, science recognises seven subspecies of Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay in two groups.

Great Basin group

  • A. w. woodhouseii lives in northern and central Nevada, California’s eastern Mojave Desert, central Utah, Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and in northern Mexico in the states of Sonora and Chihuahua.
  • A. w. suttoni lives in northern and eastern Utah, northern and eastern Utah, northern Arizona, Colorado, central New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Oklahoma.
  • A. w. texana lives on the Edwards Plateau of central Texas.
  • A. w. grisea lives in Chihuahua south to northeastern Jalisco (Mexico).
  • A. w. cyanotis lives from southern Coahuila south to Tlaxcala (Mexico).

Southern Mexican group

  • A. w. sumichrasti lives in central Mexico.
  • A. w. remota lives in southwestern Oaxaca and central Guerrero (Mexico).

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