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Green Jay: Our most colorful corvid

A Green Jay perches on a bare limb at a private ranch in Laredo, Texas. Photo ©2010 Carlos Escamilla

Readers of BirdWatching in early 2013 voted Green Jay the ninth most-wanted bird in the United States and Canada. Here’s what you need to know to add it to your life list.

Description, range, and population

DESCRIPTION. Blue crown, black throat and breast, blue and black face, emerald back, yellow-green belly, yellow outer tail feathers. (ABA Code 2)

RANGE. South Texas, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. Inca Jay subspecies from Venezuela to Bolivia treated as a separate species by several authors.

POPULATION. Unknown but said to be increasing.

View a real-time eBird map.

Viewing locations

TEXAS: Dozens of sites south of San Antonio, including Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley, Estero Llano Grande, and Falcon State Parks, Cozad, King, San Jose, and Santa Clara Ranches, Rancho Lomitas, Hazel Bazemore County Park, Santa Ana, Laguna Atascosa, and Aransas NWRs, and Sabal Palm Sanctuary.


Field Guides: South Texas Rarities, January 17-23 and 24-30, 2014, January 16-22 and 23-29, 2015; Spring in South Texas, March 22-30, 2014, March 21-29, 2015


Partnership for International Birding: Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley Winter Birding Break, February 2-8 and 9-15, 2014; Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley Plus the Hill Country with Big Bend Extension, April 13-19, 2014

Tropical Birding: South Texas: Birding the Border, February 7-14, 2014

Victor Emanuel Nature Tours: Winter Rio Grande Valley: A Relaxed and Easy Tour, February 8-14, 2014; Spring in South Texas, April 3-12, 2014


Wings: The Rio Grande Valley with Whooping Crane Extension, February 15-24, 2014; Texas: The Rio Grande Valley in Spring, April 5-14, 2014

High Lonesome Birdtours: Whooping Cranes and the Lower Rio Grande, February 21-March 1, 2014

Rockjumper Birding Tours: Texas — Whooping Cranes and the Lower Rio Grande Valley, February 22-March 2, 2014

Naturalist Journeys: South Texas Birding and Wildlife, February 25-March 2, 2014, with pre-trip extension for Whooping Cranes, February 22-25


BirdQuest: South Texas: Whooping Cranes and Rio Grande Valley specialties and migration, March 28-April 6, 2014


Rio Grande Valley Bird Festival, November 6-10, 2013, Harlingen, Texas

About our poll

We wanted to know, and you told us.


Earlier this year, we published a list of 240 bird species that occur in the United States and Canada and asked readers of BirdWatching magazine to choose the 10 that they wanted to see most.

We derived our list from the authoritative ABA Checklist. We included all rare, casual, and accidental species (ABA Checklist Codes 3, 4, and 5); regularly occurring North American species that are not widespread (Codes 1 and 2); and one species that was once dangerously close to extinction but today is surviving in captivity and struggling to become naturally re-established (Code 6). We omitted most species not native to North America.

Nearly 900 of our readers participated. Their 10 most-wanted birds include three owls, a handful of endangered species, a clown-faced puffin, a blue-footed seabird that is rarely spotted in the United States, and America’s one and only condor.

We presented the 10 most-wanted birds in the August 2013 issue of BirdWatching. Our article included not only the descriptions, population info, and eBird maps above but also 10 things you didn’t know about each species.


Originally Published

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