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Blue Jay

From Opus

Photo © by KC FogginMyrtle Beach South Carolina
Photo © by KC Foggin
Myrtle Beach South Carolina
Cyanocitta cristata


[edit] Identification

JuvenilePhoto © by maliReading, Pennsylvania, USA, June 2018
Photo © by mali
Reading, Pennsylvania, USA, June 2018

25–30 cm (9¾-11¾ in)

  • Predominantly lavender-blue to mid-blue feathering from the top of the head to midway down the back
  • Pronounced crest
  • Colour changes to black, sky-blue and white barring on the wing primaries and the tail
  • Off-white underside
  • Black collar around the neck and sides of the head
  • White face
  • Soles of feet are yellow

[edit] Distribution

Eastern side of North America from northest Newfoundland to southest Florida, western Texas and Midwestern United States, and north to central Alberta. West of the Rockies, it is replaced by the closely related Steller's Jay. Blue Jay is slowly spreading westward.

Although this bird is generally found year-round through most of its range, some northern birds do move into the southern parts of the range. These birds migrate in the daytime.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Photo © by D. TaylorJohnston County, North Carolina, September 2008
Photo © by D. Taylor
Johnston County, North Carolina, September 2008

Four subspecies are recognized1:

  • C. c. bromia :
  • C. c. cristata:
  • Central eastern and southeastern US
  • C. c. cyanotephra:
  • C. c. semplei:

[edit] Habitat

Chiefly oak forest, but now also city parks and suburban yards, especially where oak trees predominate. It is mainly a bird of mixed woodland, including American beech and various oak species.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

The nest is built by both adults. The four or five eggs are incubated by the female for about 16 or 18 days. Both parents feed the young, which fledge between 17-21 days. Monogamous.

[edit] Diet

They are omnivorous feeding on acorns and beech mast. Also seeds, berries and fruit. They will also take eggs and nestlings, scraps of meat and small invertebrates. Garden feeder visitor for peanuts and suet.

[edit] Vocalisation

  • A raucous jay-jay
  • Harsh cries, and a rich variety of other calls.
  • One is almost identical to the scream of the Red-shouldered Hawk.
  • queedle-queedle often referred to as the "rusty pump" owing to its squeaky resemblance to the sound of an old hand-operated water pump.
  • a high-pitched jayer-jayer call that increases in speed as the bird becomes more agitated.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. AvianWeb
  3. Wikipedia
  4. BF Member observations

[edit] External Links


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