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Aaron Allen — January 20, 04:49PM

Taxonomy issue with Aphelocoma californica (Western Scrub Jay)

A friend and I were birding at Bosque Del Apache in New Mexico yesterday and came across a Western Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica). It was easily identified by the white line above the eye. I discovered, however, that Western Scrub Jay does not exist in the eBird database and could not add it to my checklist. Nor is there another relevant option to choose from. It appears eBird classifies Aphelocoma californica as a California Scrub Jay and limits its territory to the west coast states. Incidentally, iBird and iNaturalist do the same while Sibley, Stokes, Audubon, and Peterson all list Aphelocoma californica as a Western Scrub Jay and show its territory stretching from the west coast into the interior west. What's a birder to do? How can we add the interior west version of Aphelocoma californica to eBird?

Aaron Allen
Albuquerque, NM

Derek Lecy — January 21, 11:40PM

Hi Aaron,

In 2016, there was a taxonomic split, and Western Scrub Jay was split into two separate species. They are California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) on the coast and Woodhouse's Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma woodhouseii) in the interior west. If you are birding in NM, you are observing Woodhouse's Scrub Jay since the split in 2016. If you try to enter Woodhouse' Scrub Jay in eBird for Bosque Del Apache, it should be all good! Hope this helps.



Up rated: 1 Down
Aaron Allen — January 22, 12:02PM

Thanks for the update/info Derek. Much appreciated!


Up rated: 0 Down

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