Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Azure-hooded Jay (Cyanolyca cucullata)


French: Geai couronné German: Blaukappenhäher Spanish: Chara coroniazul

Cyanocorax cucullatus


, 1885,

Navarro, Costa Rica


Sister to C. pulchra. Race mitrata appears morphologically rather distinctive on account of its larger size (1), with azure hood set slightly farther back on crown and a clear vs hinted whitish leading edge to it (2), but is vocally very like races guatemalae and hondurensis; in contrast, it is the nominate which differs vocally, with an even-pitched (vs upslurred) and less nasal “scratchy call” (2) and a higher-pitched “fast call” with different-shaped notes (2)#R. Four subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. mitrata Ridgway, 1899 – E Mexico (extreme SE San Luis Potosí and Veracruz S to CE Oaxaca).
  • C. c. guatemalae Pitelka, 1951 – S Mexico (Chiapas) and N Guatemala (Huehuetenango, Alta Vera Paz).
  • C. c. hondurensis Pitelka, 1951 – W Honduras (Caribbean slopes).
  • C. c. cucullata (Ridgway, 1885) – Caribbean slope of Costa Rica and Panama, extending locally across to Pacific slope.
  • Descriptive notes

    26–31 cm; 88–109 g. Feathers of forehead and loral region are short, upstanding, and plush-like. Nominate race has forehead and side of head black, crown and nape... read more


    Most frequent vocalization a clear and loud whistle, "djeek", upwardly inflected, given in rapid... read more


    Interior of cloudforest at 800–2100 m, where vegetation includes tree-ferns of several... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes invertebrates, berries, and small fruits (Miconia and Ericaceae). Forages in pairs and in flocks of 3–10... read more


    Season Apr–Jun in Costa Rica. Solitary nester. Nest a platform of twigs with inner cup (5 cm) of smaller twigs, lined roughly with... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common in much of range; can appear to be uncommon because of its inconspicuous behaviour. No indication of any threat.

    Recommended citation

    dos Anjos, L. (2020). Azure-hooded Jay (Cyanolyca cucullata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 20 February 2020).