[ edit] Identification
Photo © by
Yoroushi Onsen, East Hokkaido,
32 - 36cm (12Â½-14Â¼ in). A distinctive woodland corvid.
Mainly pinkish-brown plumage
Black moustachial stripe
Blue, black and white panels on wings
White uppertail and undertail- coverts (well visible in flight)
Broad wings resulting in a peculiar jerky flapping flight
Nominate group with whitish throat and whitish crown with black streaks
[ edit] Variations
cervicalis group birds with white cheeks and black crown, also greyer plumage
atricapillus group with white forehead, black crown and white cheeks
hyrcanus group similar to nominate but blacker crown
brandtii group has darker plumage, brown-whitish throat and brownish crown with black streaks
japonicus group with black lores, connected with broader black moustachial stripe
bispecularis group with unstreaked brown crown and whitish brown throat
leucotis group similar to atricapillus
Sexes similar. Juveniles are darker reddish-brown.
[ edit] Distribution
Occurs in most of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Siberia, China, Japan, the Himalayas and Indochina.
Mainly resident but occasionally irruptive in far north of range and can result in birds of northern subspecies occuring in winter.
nominate group â€¢
â€¢ cervicalis group
â€¢ atricapillus group
â€¢ hyrcanus group
â€¢ brandtii group
â€¢ japonicus group
â€¢ bispecularis group
â€¢ leucotis group
[ edit] Taxonomy
[ edit] Subspecies
(Showing the black cap which stops a little short of the beak by a white area. In addition there are light coloured feathers around the eyes towards the nape.)
Photo © by
, April 2010
Photo © by
Lakkadmandi, Dalhousie, Himalayas Alt. 7949 ft above MSL, Himachal Pradesh,
Photo © by
Hsitou Forest, Nantou County,
, December 2008
More than 30 subspecies of this bird have been described with about 20 from the Western Palearctic. These fall into several groups with the nominate group found over most of
cervicalis group - Black-crowned Jay:
atricapillus group - Black-capped Jay
G. g. atricapillus: Lebanon to southern Syria, Israel and western Jordan
G. g. anatoliae: Western Turkey and eastern Aegean Sea to western Asia Minor, northern Iraq and south-western Iran
G. g. samios: Samos and Ikaria region of eastern Aegean Sea ( Greece)
G. g. iphigenia: Crimean Peninsula
G. g. krynicki: Caucasus, Transcaucasia and northern Asia Minor
hyrcanus group - Iranian Jay
G. g. hyrcanus: Northern Iran (Elzburg Mountains and south shore of Caspian Sea)
brandtii group - Brandt's Jay
G. g. brandtii: Ural Mountains to Siberia, Lake Baikal and Altai and Sayan mountains
G. g. bambergi: Mongolia to Sakhalin, southern Kuril Islands, Hokkaido and Korea (sometimes merged with brandtii)
G. g. kansuensis: Kazakhstan (eastern Tien Shan) and western China (Gansu)
G. g. pekingensis: Northern China (Liaoning) and south-western Manchuria
japonicus group - Japanese Jay
G. g. japonicus: Japan (Hondo, Shikoku and Kyushu)
G. g. tokugawae: Sado Island ( Japan)
G. g. hiugaensis: Japan (Isu Peninsula of eastern Hondo, southern Kyushu and Kagoshima)
G. g. orii: Yakushima Island (Ryukyu Islands)
G. g. namiyei: Tsushima Islands (south-western Japan) (not always accepted)
bispecularis group - Himalayan Jay or Red-crowned Jay
G. g.s sinensis: Western China to northern Yunnan and north-eastern Myanmar
G. g. taivanus: Taiwan
G. g. persaturatus: Northern India (Khasi Hills of Assam) (sometimes merged with bispecularis)
G. g. bispecularis: Himalayas (Kashmir to Nepal)
G. g. interstinctus: Eastern Himalayas and south-eastern Tibet
G. g. haringtoni: Myanmar (Mount Victoria in south Chin Hills)
leucotis group - White-faced Jay
DNA reserach has shown only minor differences of small significance.
[ edit] Habitat
Photo © by
Doi Phu Hom Pok NP,
, December 2017
Mainly deciduous woodland and forest, and oak in particular. Also in mixed forest, orchards, town parks and large gardens, and coniferous forest in the north and east of the Region.
[ edit] Behaviour
Usually a very shy and wary bird, keeping in dense foliage. However, in city parks birds can become very confiding.
Normally solitary or in family groups.
omnivorous feeder. The diet includes invertebrates (notably caterpillars and beetles) but also eggs and nestlings and a wide variety of seeds and berries. Does visit garden bird tables where unmolested.
[ edit] Breeding
Breeding starts in April in most of
Europe. A pair stays together several years, possibly even lifelong. The nest is built by both sexes. It's a platfrom of twigs, placed some 4 to 6m above the ground, usually well concealed by foliage and near the tree centre. Lays 3 - 10 eggs (chiefly 5 - 7) which are incubated 16 - 17 days by the female. The nestling period is 19 - 23 days.
[ edit] Vocalisation
The alarm call is a harsh, rasping screech. It is a great mimic.
Listen in an external program
[ edit] References
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 http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
BF Member observations
Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
[ edit] External Links