Pinyon Jay Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus


Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - A2bc+3bc+4bc

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2020 Vulnerable A2bc+3bc+4bc
2016 Vulnerable A2bc+3bc+4bc
2012 Vulnerable A2bc+3bc+4bc
2008 Vulnerable A2b,c; A3b,c; A4b,c
2004 Vulnerable
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Medium
Land mass type Land-mass type - continent
Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 2,280,000 medium
Number of locations 11-100 -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 500000-999999 medium estimated 2019
Population trend Decreasing medium estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 30-49 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 30-49 - - -
Number of subpopulations 2-100 - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation 1-89 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 4.63 - - -

Population justification: Partners in Flight (2019) place the population size at 770,000 mature individuals, although Johnson et al. (2020) suggest this figure may be an overestimate due to estimates being outdated and based on the scant, available survey data, particularly in New Mexico where 29% of the global population is thought to reside. The number of mature individuals is therefore placed in the band 500,000-999,999 mature individuals to accommodate such uncertainty.

Trend justification: This species has undergone a large and statistically significant decrease in North America over the past 50 years, with a 84% total population loss currently estimated (Rosenberg et al. 2016, Johnson et al. 2020). Data from Breeding Bird Survey suggest that between 2003-2013 the species underwent a decline of c.-3.6% per year (Sauer et al. 2014). Its 'half-life' is estimated at 19 years (Rosenberg et al. 2016). Partners in Flight (2019) currently estimate the species to be declining at a rate of ~3.4% per annum, which equates to a ~38% decline over three generations (~14 years). The Breeding Bird Survey estimated the species to be declining at ~2.7% per annum, which equates to a decline of ~32% over three generations (Sauer et al. 2017). As such, the rate of decline is placed in the range of 30-49% across three generations.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Canada V Extant Yes
Mexico N Extant Yes
USA N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Mexico Sierra de San Pedro Mártir
Mexico Sierra Juárez
USA Baldwin Lake
USA East Mojave Peaks
USA Wellington-Pine Grove Hills
USA Anderson Mesa, Coconino National Forest

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Rural Gardens suitable non-breeding
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane major resident
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable non-breeding
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude suitable resident
Altitude 1000 - 2900 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Climate change & severe weather Droughts Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Past Impact
Indirect ecosystem effects, Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Natural system modifications Fire & fire suppression - Supression in fire frequency/intensity Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus. Downloaded from on 02/12/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 02/12/2022.