Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

White-throated Magpie-jay (Cyanocorax formosus)


French: Geai à face blanche German: Weißkehl-Elsternhäher Spanish: Urraca hermosa cariblanca

Pica formosa


, 1827,

Temiscaltipec, Mexico


See C. colliei. A hybrid between present species and C. morio recorded in S Mexico (Chiapas). Nominate race intergrades with azureus in Oaxaca (S Mexico). Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. f. formosus (Swainson, 1827) – S Mexico from S Jalisco, Michoacán and Puebla S to W Oaxaca.
  • C. f. azureus (Nelson, 1897) – Pacific slope in SE Mexico (SE Oaxaca and Chiapas) and W Guatemala.
  • C. f. pompatus (Bangs, 1914) – SE Mexico (interior of E Oaxaca, interior of Chiapas) and Atlantic side of Guatemala (Motagua Valley) S through El Salvador and W Honduras to NW Costa Rica.
  • Descriptive notes

    43–56 cm; 205–213 g. Long-tailed jay with slightly recurved erectile forecrown crest of long black feathers (reaching 70 mm on some individuals) with whitish or... read more


    Quite rich repertoire, some vocalizations suggesting a large parrot (Psittacidae). Twelve... read more


    Arid to semi-humid woodland, from lowlands to 800 m, reaching 1250 m in some localities. Inhabits... read more

    Food and feeding

    Reported items in diet are large invertebrates, small lizards, frogs, eggs and nestlings of small birds, also seeds, fruits, berries and... read more


    Eggs recorded in Guatemala late Dec and early Jan in W and Jun and Jul on Caribbean slope, and mid-Apr in El Salvador; eggs in Feb–... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common resident in most of its geographical range. Common to fairly common in Mexico; common in Costa Rica.

    Recommended citation

    dos Anjos, L. (2020). White-throated Magpie-jay (Cyanocorax formosus). 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 19 February 2020).