Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus - Wied, 1841
Pinyon Jay
Other English Common Names: pinyon jay
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus Wied-Neuwied, 1841 (TSN 179748)
French Common Names: Geai des pinčdes
Spanish Common Names: Chara Piņonera
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.101291
Element Code: ABPAV07010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Perching Birds
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Passeriformes Corvidae Gymnorhinus
Genus Size: A - Monotypic genus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 02Dec1996
Global Status Last Changed: 02Dec1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: NH (20Nov2000)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Arizona (S5), California (SNR), Colorado (S5), Idaho (S1), Montana (S3), Navajo Nation (S5), Nebraska (S3), Nevada (S3S4), New Mexico (S3B,S3N), Oklahoma (S2), Oregon (S3S4), South Dakota (S4B,S4N), Texas (SNA), Utah (S4), Washington (SNA), Wyoming (S5B,S5N)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: VU - Vulnerable

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Resident: central Oregon, east-central Montana, western South Dakota, south to northern Baja California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and western Oklahoma. Occurs irregularly to southern Washington, northern Idaho, southwestern Saskatchewan, throughout Great Basin, Nebraska, Kansas, central Texas, and northern mainland of Mexico (Terres 1980).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Resident: central Oregon, east-central Montana, western South Dakota, south to northern Baja California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and western Oklahoma. Occurs irregularly to southern Washington, northern Idaho, southwestern Saskatchewan, throughout Great Basin, Nebraska, Kansas, central Texas, and northern mainland of Mexico (Terres 1980).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NE, NM, NN, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WY

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; NatureServe, 2005


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Bannock (16005), Cassia (16031), Oneida (16071), Power (16077)
MT Big Horn (30003), Blaine (30005), Broadwater (30007), Carbon (30009), Carter (30011), Chouteau (30015), Custer (30017), Fergus (30027), Gallatin (30031), Garfield (30033), Jefferson (30043), Lewis and Clark (30049), Musselshell (30065), Park (30067), Petroleum (30069), Phillips (30071), Powder River (30075), Rosebud (30087), Stillwater (30095), Sweet Grass (30097), Wheatland (30107), Yellowstone (30111)
NM Bernalillo (35001), Los Alamos (35028), San Juan (35045), Santa Fe (35049)
OK Cimarron (40025)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Jefferson (10020005)+, Boulder (10020006)+, Madison (10020007)+, Upper Missouri (10030101)+, Bullwhacker-Dog (10040101)+, Fort Peck Reservoir (10040104)+, Big Dry (10040105)+, Upper Musselshell (10040201)+, Middle Musselshell (10040202)+, Box Elder (10040204)+, Lower Musselshell (10040205)+, Yellowstone Headwaters (10070001)+, Upper Yellowstone (10070002)+, Upper Yellowstone-Lake Basin (10070004)+, Stillwater (10070005)+, Clarks Fork Yellowstone (10070006)+, Upper Yellowstone-Pompeys Pillar (10070007)+, Pryor (10070008)+, Big Horn Lake (10080010)+, Shoshone (10080014)+, Upper Tongue (10090101)+, Lower Tongue (10090102)+, Middle Powder (10090207)+, Lower Powder (10090209)+, Mizpah (10090210)+, Lower Yellowstone-Sunday (10100001)+, Rosebud (10100003)+, Upper Little Missouri (10110201)+, Boxelder (10110202)+
11 Cimarron headwaters (11040001)+*, Upper Cimarron (11040002)+*
13 Upper Rio Grande (13020101)+, Rio Grande-Santa Fe (13020201)+, Rio Grande-Albuquerque (13020203)+
14 Upper San Juan (14080101)+, Middle San Juan (14080105)+
16 Lower Bear-Malad (16010204)+, Curlew Valley (16020309)+
17 American Falls (17040206)+, Portneuf (17040208)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Raft (17040210)+, Goose (17040211)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Nests when and where adequate numbers of pine seeds are available. Clutch size is 3-6 (usually 3-4). Incubation, by female (fed by male), lasts 15-17 days. Young are tended by both adults (and sometimes by young of previous nestings), leave nest in about 3 weeks (Harrison 1978). Adults remain paired throughout the year. Breeds in loose scattered colonies. In Arizona, pair bonds apparently monogamous, perennial, lasted average of 2.5 years; males initiated breeding at average age of 2 years, females at 1.6 years; deserted females incapable of rearing offspring (Marzluff and Balda 1988).
Ecology Comments: Complex social organization; gregarious. Lives in loose flocks of multiple breeding pairs and their offspring from previous nesting seasons. The flock has an established home range but may wander to other areas in search of food. During nesting season flocks of yearlings may form. Nesting success often is low due to predation or severe weather.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Does not migrate, but may wander long distances in search of food when seed crop is low (Ryser 1985). Flocks may also move altitudinally in search of food.
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: Pinyon-juniper woodland, less frequently pine; in nonbreeding season, also occurs in scrub oak and sagebrush (AOU 1983). Nests in shrubs or trees (e.g., pine, oak, or juniper), about 1.5-9 m above ground.
Adult Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats pinyon and other pine seeds, berries, small seeds, and grain. Also insects (larvae, nymphs, and adults); beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants, etc. May eat bird eggs, hatchlings. Communally caches large numbers of seeds.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 27 centimeters
Weight: 103 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Passerines

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Nest Site, Nesting Colony
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.

Mapping Guidance: Breeding occurrences include nesting areas as well as foraging areas.

For swallows and other species that have separate nesting and foraging areas, separations are based on nest sites or nesting areas, not to locations of foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap larger than the separation distance are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas. This separation procedure is appropriate because nesting areas are the critical aspect of swallow breeding occurrences, tend to be relatively stable or at least somwhat predictable in general location, and so are the basis for effective conservation; foraging areas are much more flexible and not necessarily static.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Significant dispersal and associated high potential for gene flow among populations of birds separated by tens of kilometers (e.g., Moore and Dolbeer 1989), and increasing evidence that individuals leave their usual home range to engage in extrapair copulations, as well as long foraging excursions of some species, make it difficult to circumscribe occurrences on the basis of meaningful population units without occurrences becoming too large. Hence, a moderate, standardized separation distance has been adopted for songbirds and flycatchers; it should yield occurrences that are not too spatially expansive while also accounting for the likelihood of gene flow among populations within a few kilometers of each other.

Be careful not to separate a population's nesting areas and foraging areas as different occurrences; include them in the same occurrence even if they are more than 5 km apart. Mean foraging radius (from nesting area) of Brown-headed Cowbird females was 4.0 kilometers in California, 1.2 kilometers in Illinois-Missouri (Thompson 1994). Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Brewer's Blackbirds, and probably Red-winged Blackbirds all forage up to 1.6 kilometers away from breeding colony (Willson 1966, Horn 1968). In one study, Brewer's Blackbirds were found as far as 10 kilometers from nesting area (Williams 1952), but this may be unusual.

For swallows and other parrerines with similar behavioral ecology, separation distance pertains to nest sites or nesting colonies, not to locations of foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap of more than 5 km are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas. This separation procedure is appropriate because nesting areas are the critical aspect of swallow breeding occurrences, tend to be relatively stable or at least somwhat predictable in general location, and so are the basis for effective conservation; foraging areas are much more flexible and not necessarily static.

Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.

Unsuitable habitat: Habitat not normally used for breeding/feeding by a particular species. For example, unsuitable habitat for grassland and shrubland birds includes forest/woodland, urban/suburban, and aquatic habitats. Most habitats would be suitable for birds with versatile foraging habits (e.g., most corvids).

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Roost Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: For most passerines: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating individuals (including historical) and potential recurring presence at a given location; minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds in appropriate habitat.

For swallows: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating flocks (including historical) and potential recurring presence at a given location; minimally a reliable observation of 100 birds in appropriate habitat (e.g., traditional roost sites).

Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually.

EOs should not be described for species that are nomadic during nonbreeding season: e.g., Lark Bunting.

Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary but intended to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.

For swallows and other species with similar behavioral ecology, the separation distance pertains to communal roost sites rather than to foraging areas; the former tend to be more stable and specific over time than the latter.

Date: 03Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Roost Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any area used traditionally in the nonbreeding season (used for populations that are not resident in a location year-round). Minimally, reliable observations of 10 or more individuals in appropriate habitat for 20 or more days at a time. For G1-G3 species, observations of fewer individuals could constitute an occurrence of conservation value. Sites used during migration should be documented under the 'migratory stopover' location use class.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance is necessarily arbitrary but attempts to balance the high mobility of birds with the need for occurrences of reasonable spatial scope. Note that a population's roost sites and foraging areas are parts of the same occurrence, even if they are more than 5 km apart.

For swallows and other species with similar behavioral ecology, the separation distance pertains to communal roost sites rather than to foraging areas; the former tend to be more stable and specific over time than the latter.

Date: 03Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.

Use Class: Nonmigratory
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a particular location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in or near appropriate habitat.

These occurrence specifications are used for nonmigratory populations of passerine birds.

Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Significant dispersal and associated high potential for gene flow among populations of birds separated by tens of kilometers (e.g., Moore and Dolbeer 1989), and increasing evidence that individuals leave their usual home range to engage in extrapair copulations, as well as long foraging excursions of some species, make it difficult to circumscribe occurrences on the basis of meaningful population units without occurrences becoming too large. Hence, a moderate, standardized separation distance has been adopted for songbirds and flycatchers; it should yield occurrences that are not too spatially expansive while also accounting for the likelihood of gene flow among populations within a few kilometers of each other.

Be careful not to separate a population's nesting areas and breeding-season foraging areas as different occurrences; include them in the same occurrence even if they are more than 5 km apart. Blue jays have small summer home ranges but fly up to 4 kilometers to harvest mast (Tarvin and Woolfenden 1999). Flocks of pinyon jays range over 21-29 square kilometers (Ligon 1971, Balda and Bateman 1971); nesting and foraging areas may be widely separated. Tricolored blackbirds forage in flocks that range widely to more than 15 kilometers from the nesting colony (Beedy and Hamilton 1999).

Unsuitable habitat: Habitat not normally used for breeding/feeding by a particular species. For example, unsuitable habitat for grassland and shrubland birds includes forest/woodland, urban/suburban, and aquatic habitats. Most habitats would be suitable for birds with versatile foraging habits (e.g., most corvids).

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Notes: These specs pertain to nonmigratory species.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 23Mar1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1983. Check-list of North American Birds, 6th edition. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 877 pp.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.

  • Balda, R. P., and G. C. Bateman. 1971. Flocking and annual cycle of the piņon jay, Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus. Condor 73:287-302.

  • Bureau of Land Management. Life History Summaries.

  • Godfrey, W. E. 1986. The birds of Canada. Revised edition. National Museum of Natural Sciences, Ottawa. 596 pp. + plates.

  • Goodwin, D. 1986. Crows of the world. Second edition. Univ. Washington Press. 300 pp.

  • Harrison, C. 1978. A Field Guide to the Nests, Eggs and Nestlings of North American Birds. Collins, Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Horn, H. S. 1968. The adaptive significance of colonial nesting in the Brewer's Blackbird. Ecology 49:682-694.

  • Howell, S. N. G., and S. Webb. 1995. A guide to the birds of Mexico and northern Central America. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

  • Ligon, J. D. 1971. Late summer-autumnal breeding of the piņon jay in New Mexico. Condor 73:147-153.

  • Marzluff, J. M., and R. P. Balda. 1988. The advantages of, and constraints forcing, mate fidelity in pinyon jays. Auk 105:286-295.

  • Marzluff, J. M., and R. P. Balda. 1992. The pinyon jay: behavioral ecology of a colonial and cooperative breeder. Academic Press. 344 pp. [published also by T. and A. D. Poyser, London, 317 pp.]

  • Moore, W. S., and R. A. Dolbeer. 1989. The use of banding recovery data to estimate dispersal rates and gene flow in avian species: case studies in the Red-winged Blackbird and Common Grackle. Condor 91:242-253.

  • Parker III, T. A., D. F. Stotz, and J. W. Fitzpatrick. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases for neotropical birds. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

  • Poole, A. F. and F. B. Gill. 1992. The birds of North America. The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. and The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Ryser, F.A. 1985. Birds of the Great Basin a natural history. University of Nevada Press, Reno, NV.

  • Sibley, D. A. 2000a. The Sibley guide to birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

  • Smith, A. 1996. Atlas of Saskatchewan birds. Saskatchewan Natural History Society, Special Publication No. 22. 456 pp.

  • Tarvin, K. A., and G. E. Woolfenden. 1999. Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata). No. 469 IN A. Poole and F. Gill, editors. The birds of North America. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. 32pp.

  • Terres, J. K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

  • Thompson, F. R., III. 1994. Temporal and spatial patterns of breeding brown-headed cowbirds in the midwestern United States. Auk 111:979-990.

  • Williams, L. 1952b. Breeding behavior of the Brewer blackbird. Condor 54:3-47.

  • Willson, M. F. 1966. Breeding ecology of the Yellow-headed Blackbird. Ecological Monographs 36:51-77.

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