• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

San Blas Jay - BirdForum Opus

Adult bird
Photo by Glen Tepke
Mismaloya, Jalisco, Mexico, January 2008

Alternative name: Black-and-blue Jay

Cyanocorax sanblasianus


27 - 35cm.

  • Small frontal crest
  • Black head, neck, upper mantle and underparts
  • Purplish-blue upperparts, wings and uppertail-coverts (nelsoni less bright than nominate)
  • Yellow eye
  • Black bill
  • Greenish-yellow legs

Sexes similar. Juveniles are duller than adults, have brown eyes and a yellow bill.

Similar species

Most likely to be confused with Purplish-backed Jay which it overlaps in the northern part of its range (especially around San Blas where Purplish-backed is the more frequently encountered). San Blas Jay is around 1-5 cm smaller, with a more contrasting lighter blue back colour. Its legs are paler yellow or more usually greyish. Calls differ, with Purplish-backed being slightly more drawn out/insistent.

Also similar to Bushy-crested Jay (especially subspecies chavezi) and Yucatan Jay but ranges don't overlap.


Endemic to the Pacific coast of southwest Mexico.
A fairly common but patchily distributed restricted-range species.


Immature bird (note the eye colour)
Photo by Glen Tepke
Mismaloya, Jalisco, Mexico, January 2008

Two subspecies accepted:

  • C. s. nelsoni from Nayarit, Jalisco and Colima south to western Guerrero
  • C. s. sanblasianus in central Guerrero

Formerly placed in genus Cissilopha. May form a superspecies with Yucatan Jay.


Found from arid to semi-humid forest and scrub land. Avoids interior of forest.


San Blas Jays are almost exclusively found in flocks of between 15 - 20 birds. They forage low to high in canopy and often on or near the ground. They feed on insects, small lizards and fruits.
Breeding recorded in June and July. Communal breeder, birds hatched during one year will help raising the new brood the following year. The nest is made of twigs and placed 9 - 15m above the ground in a coconut palm. Lays 3 - 4 eggs.
A sedentary species.


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507

Recommended Citation

External Links