Aphelocoma woodhouseii

Status:  No accepted records.

Taxonomy: There are about 14 subspecies of former Western Scrub-Jay A. californica recognized by various authors. These have been treated in three groups; Curry et al (2020) discuss the minimal genetic differences and possible stable hybrid populations between them. Curry et al (2020), Clements et al (2017) and Gill and Donsker (2017) recognize two species: California Scrub-Jay of the western USA west of the Rocky Mountains from Washington to Baja California, with seven subspecies, and Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay of the interior USA west of the Great Plains, with seven subspecies, four restricted to Mexico (two of which, remota and sumichrasti, sometimes designated Sumichrast’s Scrub-Jay) and three in the USA: nevadae from southeast Oregon to Arizona and New Mexico, woodhouseii from west-central USA to northern Mexico, and texana of the Edwards Plateau in west-central Texas.

Recently, insularis Island Scrub-Jay and coerulescens Florida Scrub-Jay have been accorded species status (AOU 1998).

The putative Nebraska sighting, like those in Wyoming and Kansas (below) most likely would be of woodhouseii on geographic grounds.

Comments: One was reported in Bull Canyon, Banner Co, in early Jun 1978 (Bray et al 1986, Cortelyou 1980) by an observer familiar with the species who did not realize its rarity in Nebraska. The habitat in this canyon and nearby Long Canyon seems suitable for this species.

There is an old report cited by Bruner (1896) of it being a “common transient visitor” at North Platte, but the observer apparently was referring to Pinyon Jay (Cortelyou 1980). Phillips (1986) listed A.c. suttoni (= woodhouseii) as wintering “irregularly to Nebraska”, but no evidence is presented for this statement.

Vagrants onto the Great Plains typically are found in late fall and winter.  The likelihood of this species appearing in Nebraska is slight, although records from Wyoming and Kansas suggest that it may occur. There are six records in southeast Wyoming near the Nebraska Panhandle (Faulkner 2010), and it occurs irregularly in southwest Kansas, with records as far north and east as Barton and Ellsworth Cos in central Kansas (Thompson et al 2011). This species breeds along the Front Range at the western edge of the eastern Colorado Plains (Andrews and Righter 1992).

Literature Cited

Andrews, R., and R. Righter. 1992. Colorado birds.  Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, Colorado, USA.

American Ornithologists’ Union [AOU]. 1998. The AOU Check-list of North American birds, 7th ed.  Allen Press, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.

Bray, T.E., B.K. Padelford, and W.R. Silcock. 1986. The birds of Nebraska: A critically evaluated list. Published by the authors, Bellevue, Nebraska, USA.

Bruner, L. 1896. A list of Nebraska birds, together with notes on their abundance, migrations, breeding, food-habits, etc. Nebraska State Horticultural Society 27th Annual Report pp 57-163.

Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, accessed 30 January 2018.

Cortelyou, R.G. 1980. Scrub Jay. NBR 48: 89.

Curry, R.L., A.T. Peterson, T.A. Langen, P. Pyle, and M.A. Patten. 2020. Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma woodhouseii), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.wooscj2.01.

Gill, F., and D. Donsker (Eds). 2017. IOC World Bird List (v 7.3), accessed 30 January 2018.

Faulkner, D.W. 2010. Birds of Wyoming. Roberts and Company, Greenwood Village, Colorado, USA.

Phillips, A.R. 1986. The known birds of North and Middle America. Part 1.  Published by the author, Denver, Colorado, USA.

Thompson, M.C., C.A. Ely, B. Gress, C. Otte, S.T. Patti, D. Seibel, and E.A. Young. 2011. Birds of Kansas.  University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2020.  Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma woodhouseii). In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org

Birds of Nebraska – Online

Updated 28 Mar 2020