Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Bushy-crested Jay (Cyanocorax melanocyaneus)


French: Geai houppé German: Hartlaubblaurabe Spanish: Chara centroamericana

Garrulus (Cyanocorax) melanocyaneus


, 1844,



Along with C. yucatanicus, C. sanblasianus and C. beecheii, formerly separated in Cissilopha (the black-and-blue jays of Middle America). Acknowledged to be very similar to C. sanblasianus#R, but differs in its thick erectile crown feathers forming a “bushy” crest vs no obvious crest in adult sanblasianus although juveniles possess a wholly different crest involving a few floppy elongate erectile forehead feathers (3); dull blue vs black belly (3); richer blue upperparts and tail (1); and somewhat different voice, e.g. chattering call rather higher-pitched (allow 2). Races intergrade in N & E El Salvador and Honduras. Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. melanocyaneus (Hartlaub, 1844) – mountains of Guatemala and W El Salvador (coast range E to Volcán de Vicente).
  • C. m. chavezi (W. deW. Miller & Griscom, 1925) – mountains of Honduras, N & EC El Salvador and NW Nicaragua.
  • Descriptive notes

    28–33 cm; 80–115 g. Looks bulky-headed when crown feathers erected; feathers of forecrown somewhat stubble-like, but hardly crested. Nominate race has black hood... read more


    Cawing call (social call), usually the most often heard vocalization, is short and inflected, and... read more


    Edges of humid woodlands, especially of mixed pine (Pinus) and oak (Quercus),... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including beetles (Coleoptera) and grasshoppers (Orthoptera), other invertebrates; also seeds, and fruits e.g. small figs (... read more


    Eggs recorded late Apr to mid-May, and in El Salvador recently fledged juveniles in mid-Jun; season apparently of two overlapping nesting... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in North Central American Highlands EBA. Not uncommon. In Montecristo National Park, in El Salvador, estimated... read more

    Recommended citation

    dos Anjos, L. (2019). Bushy-crested Jay (Cyanocorax melanocyaneus). 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 11 December 2019).