The Linear and nonlinear properties of a modified convective cell (MCC) in a nonuniform dusty magnetoplasma with a perpendicular plasma flow are investigated. It is shown that the free energy of the equilibrium plasma flow can drive the MCC at nonthermal levels. By choosing some specific profiles for the sheared plasma flow and the dust number density, we analyze the eigenvalue equation for deducing the growth rate and the threshold of a convective mode instability which arises due to its interaction with the shear plasma flows. Our analytical results show that a Rayleigh-type instability sets in provided that the characteristic width of the flow does not exceed a certain value. On the other hand, the nonlinear equation, which governs the dynamics of the nonlinearly interacting convective modes, admits stationary solutions in the form of a vortex chain associated with zonal flows, as well as tripolar and global vortices. The relevance of our investigation to a laboratory experiment is discussed. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.