Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Ultramarine Jay (Aphelocoma ultramarina)


French: Geai des volcans German: Ultramarinhäher Spanish: Chara ultramarina
Other common names: Transvolcanic Jay

Corvus ultramarinus


, 1825,

Temascaltepec, Mexico


Until recently considered conspecific with A. wollweberi (see above). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. u. colimae Nelson, 1899 – SW Mexico (most of Jalisco and NE Colima).
  • A. u. ultramarina (Bonaparte, 1825) – SC Mexico (SE Jalisco and NW Michoacán E in S Mexican Plateau region to Veracruz).
  • Descriptive notes

    28–32 cm; male 84–150 g, female 77–137 g. Small, chunky, crestless jay, dull bluish above and dingy below, with fairly heavy, pointed bill; bill length... read more


    Not formally studied. Like other corvids, has soft "whisper-song", begging calls, and... read more


    Montane mixed woodland with oak (Quercus) and pine (Pinus) or juniper (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Omnivorous; seasonal specialist on pine and oak crops. Diet nuts, fruits, seeds, nectar; invertebrates; small vertebrates, e.g. lizards,... read more


    Nest-building begins late Feb and early Mar and laying late Mar to early Apr (rarely through Jun) in S USA (Arizona); repeated nesting... read more


    Resident. Dispersal extremely limited, but rare long-distance movements and wanderings of vagrants... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common throughout range. In Arizona, average size of home range 0·36 km2. Populations in Arizona fluctuated annually during 1986–1994,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Marzluff, J. (2017). Ultramarine Jay (Aphelocoma ultramarina). 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 18 November 2017).