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Beautiful Jay Cyanolyca pulchra
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This scarce and local species is apparently restricted to pristine primary forest habitats within a small range, and it is therefore likely to be declining moderately rapidly owing to ongoing logging and habitat clearance. It is therefore currently considered Near Threatened, and should be carefully monitored.

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Distribution and population
Cyanolyca pulchra is rare and local, occurring along a narrow elevational band of extremely wet foothill and premontane forest on the Pacific slope of west Colombia (north to extreme south Chocó) and north-west Ecuador (south to Pichincha). At Río Ñambi, Colombia, its population is estimated at just 2-3 pairs in 5 km (Parker et al. 1996). In Ecuador, it appears to have declined for unknown reasons since the 1970s (Ridgely and Tudor 1989).

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'rare and patchily distributed' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
A slow to moderate and on-going population decline is suspected, as this species is likely to be highly susceptible to continuing habitat loss that is occurring throughout the range.

This species is rare and local in pluvial and wet subtropical forests at 900-2,300 m, but mostly between 1,400 and 1,800 m (Hilty and Brown 1986, Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Salaman 1994, Parker et al. 1996, Stattersfield et al. 1998, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 2000). It favours dense understorey, particularly along watercourses and in marshy areas (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 2000).

This species is extremely sensitive to human disturbance and appears almost exclusively dependent upon primary forest (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 2000). Unplanned colonisation, following the completion of roads, and massive logging concessions are major threats to its habitat, with cattle-grazing, mining and coca and palm cultivation also posing problems (Stattersfield et al. 1998). Since 1960, over 40% of Chocó forests have been cleared or degraded, and deforestation is accelerating (Salaman 1994).

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in the Cerro Golondrinas Reserve, Carchi, Ecuador (Freile 2004). Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue to survey suitable habitats within and surrounding the known range in order to determine its current status, as well as quantify population trends. Campaign for the rigorous protection of remaining forests within its altitudinal range.

Freile, J. F. 2004. Range extensions and other noteworthy and new bird records from mainland Ecuador. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 124: 188-202.

Hilty, S. L.; Brown, W. L. 1986. A guide to the birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Parker, T. A.; Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases. In: Stotz, D.F.; Fitzpatrick, J.W.; Parker, T.A.; Moskovits, D.K. (ed.), Neotropical bird ecology and conservation, pp. 113-436. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Ridgely, R. S.; Tudor, G. 1989. The birds of South America. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.

Salaman, P. G. W. 1994. Surveys and conservation of biodiversity in the Chocó, south-west Colombia. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Stattersfield, A. J.; Crosby, M. J.; Long, A. J.; Wege, D. C. 1998. Endemic bird areas of the world: priorities for bird conservation. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Gilroy, J., O'Brien, A., Sharpe, C J

Salaman, P.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Cyanolyca pulchra. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Corvidae (Crows and jays)
Species name author (Lawrence, 1876)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 19,700 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species