Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)


Pinyon Jay (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus)


French: Geai des pinèdes German: Schlankschnabelhäher Spanish: Chara piñonera

Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus


, 1841,

Maria-River = between Marias River and Yellowstone River, Montana, USA


Birds from Big Bear Valley (San Bernardino Mts), in California, described as race rostratus, but appear inseparable from those in rest of species’ range. Monotypic.


W USA from C Oregon S along arid mountain slopes of E California to extreme NW Mexico (Baja California), E to Montana and Black Hills of South Dakota, Wyoming, W Nebraska, W Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Descriptive notes

26–29 cm; male 111 g, female 99 g. A dull blue jay with long sharply pointed bill and short tail. Male is dusty blue above, brighter blue on head, with greyer flight-... read more


Well-studied repertoire of at least 15 calls, enabling co-ordination of activities and recognition... read more


Woodlands and forest where pinyon-juniper (Pinus-Juniperus), sagebrush (... read more

Food and feeding

An omnivore that specializes on pine seeds for much of year. Adults also eat variety of arthropods, including grasshoppers (Orthoptera),... read more


Season begins early spring, from mid-Feb (even at high elevations), earliest in suburban settings, and may breed in autumn if green cones... read more


Flocks roam widely over large areas (up to 64 km2) and each autumn travel extensively, even... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Locally common. Thought to have undergone rapid population decline throughout its range, apparently as a result of loss of and degradation of its pinyon-juniper... read more

Recommended citation

Marzluff, J. (2019). Pinyon Jay (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus). 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).