Beautiful Jay Cyanolyca pulchra


Justification of Red List category
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.

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.

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).


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

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.


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

Salaman, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Cyanolyca pulchra. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/beautiful-jay-cyanolyca-pulchra on 11/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 11/12/2023.