Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas)


French: Geai vert German: Inkarabe Spanish: Chara verde

Corvus yncas


, 1783,

Chilpes, Junín, Peru


Formerly placed in a monospecific Xanthoura. Races fall into two groups, “luxuosus group” in Central America, and “yncas group” in Andes; these sometimes treated as two separate species, the luxuosus group differing in its shorter frontal tuft (2); smaller overall size (allow 1); green-tinged underparts in some but not all races (ns); dark iris in some but not all races (ns); more clear-cut colour transition from crown to mantle (1); and possibly higher pitch to the typical rapid series of cracking notes (ns). Race luxuosus intergrades with vividus in SE Sierra de Tuxtla and Catemaco region of S Veracruz. Race cozumelae sometimes synonymized with maya. Proposed race andicola (Andes of Mérida, Venezuela) included in cyanodorsalis. Thirteen subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. y. glaucescens (Ridgway, 1900) – extreme S USA (S Texas) and NE Mexico (W Tamaulipas and Nuevo León).
  • C. y. luxuosus (Lesson, 1839) – Green Jay – E & SC Mexico (E San Luis Potosí S to Puebla and C Veracruz).
  • C. y. speciosus (Nelson, 1900) – Pacific slope of Mexico in Nayarit and Jalisco.
  • C. y. vividus (Ridgway, 1900) – Pacific slope of S Mexico (from Colima and Guerrero E to SC Oaxaca).
  • C. y. maya (van Rossem, 1934) – Tabasco and Yucatán Peninsula (except extreme S Quintana Roo), in E Mexico.
  • C. y. cozumelae (van Rossem, 1934) – Cozumel I (off NE Yucatán Peninsula).
  • C. y. centralis (van Rossem, 1934) – SE Mexico (extreme E Tabasco and adjacent parts of Chiapas E through extreme S Quintana Roo), N & E Guatemala, Belize and N Honduras.
  • C. y. confusus A. R. Phillips, 1966 – Pacific slope of S Chiapas (Mexico) and SW Guatemala.
  • C. y. galeatus (Ridgway, 1900) – subtropical zone of Colombia W of E Andes.
  • C. y. cyanodorsalis (A. J. C. Dubois, 1874) – Sierra de Perijá, C & E Colombia (subtropical zone of E Andes) and NW Venezuela (Zulia, and S Lara S to Táchira and Barinas).
  • C. y. guatimalensis (Bonaparte, 1850) – mountains of N Venezuela (Falcón E to Sucre and Anzoátegui).
  • C. y. yncas (Boddaert, 1783) – Inca Jay – SW Colombia (subtropical zone, in valleys of upper Cauca, Patía, and San Miguel) S through E Ecuador and Peru to C Bolivia (La Paz and Cochabamba).
  • C. y. longirostris (Carriker, 1933) – arid upper valley of R Marañón, in N Peru.
  • Descriptive notes

    25–27 cm; 66–92 g. Short bushy frontal crest formed by tufted and stiffly erect nasal and frontal plumes. Nominate race has forehead and small rounded spot above... read more


    Very large vocal repertoire, not well described. Typical calls include metallic "cleeop"... read more


    Occupies variety of habitats, including tropical deciduous forest, humid forest edge, grassland... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet of four groups studied in Colombia contained similar proportions of animal and plant matter (57% and 43%, respectively); in N races... read more


    Eggs recorded Apr–Jun in USA and Mar–Aug in Colombia. Two breeding systems recorded: co-operative breeding with more than two... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common to fairly common; often local. Very limited range in USA. Uncommon to locally common in Venezuela; common but very local in Colombia... read more

    Recommended citation

    dos Anjos, L. (2020). Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas). 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).