|The California Scrub-jay. Photo by J.J. Meyer|
The American Ornithologists’ Union, the official authority on classification and names of all bird species on this continent, recently released a new checklist of North American Birds.
In the new checklist, the Western Scrub-Jay has been split into two species: the California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) and Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma woodhouseii). Birders have long recognized that these widespread western jays come in different shades: a darker, more rich color in California, Oregon, and southwestern Washington, and a somewhat paler, grayer type in the interior West, from Nevada east to Texas. Many field guides already illustrate them separately as “coastal form” (or “Pacific form”) and “interior form.”