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Dwarf Jay Cyanolyca nana
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is considered Vulnerable because it has a small range, which is declining rapidly in response to habitat loss.

Taxonomic source(s)
AOU. 1998. Check-list of North American birds. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

20-23 cm. Small, slender and agile, blue jay. Slate-blue except for black mask bordered by slight, whitish supercilium and whitish throat highlighted by diffuse breast-band. Voice Repeated two-syllable, high-pitched nasal yeeyip yeeyip. Occasionally also longer, harsh squawk. Hints Often accompanies mixed-species flocks with Grey-barred Wren Campylorhynchus megalopterus.

Distribution and population
Cyanolyca nana is known historically from Veracruz adjacent to the border with Puebla and the Sierras Juárez, Aloapaneca and Zempoaltepec in Oaxaca south-east Mexico. It was feared extinct throughout this range except for the Cerro San Felipe in the Sierra Aloapaneca, where it remains quite common. However, it is now known to be more widespread. There are records from Tangojó in extreme east Querétaro, north Hidalgo, central Veracruz and La Chinantla in north Oaxaca, and it may be locally common where suitable habitat persists (M. Angel Martínez, E. Ruelas and R. Sanchez pers. comm. to A. G. Navarro in litt. 1998, A. G. Navarro in litt. 1998, Rojas-Soto et al. in press).

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
No quantitative data are available for the calculation of population trends; however, the species is suspected to be declining rapidly in line with habitat degradation within its range.

It has been observed in several humid montane forest-associations, but most abundantly in pine-oak-fir associations and areas with an even mix of pine and oak. Laurel and abundant epiphytic growth are characteristic of these associations. Lower densities occur in oak-dominated forest, and its occurrence in secondary growth depends on the predominance of the preferred tree-associations and nearby tracts of primary forest. Suitable breeding habitat has a sufficiently open canopy to allow the development of a dense subcanopy. It forages mostly from the lower subcanopy to the higher shrub layer, where it gleans invertebrates from and around epiphytes. It occurs at elevations of 1,400-3,200 m (Rojas-Soto et al. in press), but only above 1,670 m in the centre and south of its range. This is plausibly a natural altitudinal distribution, but it may have been extirpated from the lower elevations in the south of its range. The breeding season begins at Cerro San Felipe in early April.

Logging, agricultural expansion, firewood-gathering, road and tourist developments, sheep-ranching, intense grazing and intensive urbanisation have resulted in extensive and continuing destruction and fragmentation of its habitat (Dinerstein et al. 1995). It is prone to nest-desertion following human disturbance, suggesting that there are few predators of adult birds. The continuing spread of West Nile virus is not thought to pose a serious threat, and no related mortality has been detected in this species (P. Escalante in litt. 2005).

Conservation Actions Underway
Cerro San Felipe is officially within Benito Juárez National Park, but the boundaries of this relatively small reserve have never been demarcated (Salas et al. 1994) and it offers the species little protection (A. T. Peterson in litt. 1998). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess more precisely the extent of its distribution. Demarcate and effectively protect the boundaries of Benito Juárez National Park. Protect sites where the species has been recently recorded.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Dinerstein, E.; Olson, D. M.; Graham, D. J.; Webster, A. L.; Primm, S. A.; Bookbinder, M. P.; Ledec, G. 1995. A conservation assesssment of the terrestrial ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Rojas-Soto, O. R.; Sahagún-Sánchez, F. J.; Navarro, S. A. G. 2001. Additional information on the avifauna of Querétaro, Mexico. Cotinga 15: 48-52.

Salas, S. H.; Ramírez, G.; Schibili, I.; de Avila, A.; Aguilar, R. 1994. Analysis of the vegetation and current land use in the state of Oaxaca, II: Valles Centrales, Sierra Norte and Papaloapan region.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

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

Text account compilers
Capper, D., Harding, M., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J

Escalante, P., Navarro, A., Peterson, A.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Cyanolyca nana. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Dwarf jay (Cyanolyca nana) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Corvidae (Crows and jays)
Species name author (Du Bus De Gisignies, 1847)
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 4,700 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species