Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Plain-crowned Jay (Garrulus bispecularis)


French: Geai à double miroir German: Bergeichelhäher Spanish: Arrendajo coroniliso
Other common names: Himalayan Jay

Garrulus bispecularis


, 1831,

Simla–Almora district, Himalayas


Hitherto treated as conspecific with G. glandarius and G. leucotis; differs from latter in characters given under that species (which see). Differs from former in its plain crown (no black streaks with white, or all black) (3); blue-and-black barred area of middle of secondaries vs white (3); pinkish-tinged buffy-rufous underparts without heavy tinge of grey (2); and whining call with repeated short notes at a pace higher than in either G. glandarius or G. leucotis (3)#R; but see latter species for note on race oatesi. Other forms have been described, most referable to intermediate populations, and best treated as synonyms: thus, insularis included in taivanus; persaturatus and azureitinctus in interstinctus; and rufescens, rubrosus and minhoensis in sinensis. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. b. bispecularis Vigors, 1831 – W Himalayas from N Pakistan (Murree Hills) E to W Nepal.
  • G. b. interstinctus E. J. O. Hartert, 1918 – E Himalayas, S Assam and SE Xizang.
  • G. b. sinensis Swinhoe, 1871 – SC, S & E China and N Myanmar.
  • G. b. oatesi Sharpe, 1896 – NW Myanmar.
  • G. b. haringtoni Rippon, 1905 – W Myanmar.
  • G. b. taivanus Gould, 1863 – Taiwan.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 33 cm; 120–130 g. Nominate race has chin and upper throat whitish, broad black malar stripe; rest of head and body uniformly pinky rufous, slightly more rufous below, with... read more


    Harsh grating call frequently given, singly or in series. Almost as common is the whining call,... read more


    Inhabits deciduous woodland and forest in much of range, also mixed deciduous–evergreen forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Omnivorous. During breeding period feeds mainly on invertebrates, especially beetles (Coleoptera) and caterpillars gleaned from tree... read more


    Lays Mar–Jun, mainly Apr–May in W of range. Nest a flattish cup made from twigs and moss, lined with fine roots and fibres, placed up to c... read more


    Resident. Some altitudinal movements, e.g. post-breeding descent to lower elevations in mountain... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern]). Fairly common to locally common throughout range. Appears to be particularly numerous in E parts of range. This species’ total... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Plain-crowned Jay (Garrulus bispecularis). 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 9 December 2019).