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Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata


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Blue Jay
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Corvidae, Crows, Magpies, Jays view all from this family

Description ADULT Has bright blue cap, nape, and back. Wings are blue overall with laddered black markings and bold white patches and wing bar. Tail is blue with laddered black and white outer tips. Underparts are pale gray, face and throat with a dark border. JUVENILE Similar, but blue elements of plumage are grayer.

Dimensions Length: 12" (30 cm)

Habitat Common resident in a wide variety of wooded habitats, from forests to parks and gardens. Common in east but range extends westward almost to Rockies. In some years, northern populations are irruptive, or migratory southward in fall in variable numbers; occasionally there are widespread movements involving large flocks.

Observation Tips Easy to observe.

Range Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Southeast, Western Canada, Great Lakes, Southwest, Northwest, Florida, Texas, New England, Eastern Canada, Rocky Mountains

Voice Calls are varied and include a shrill jay, jay, jayÖ and a whistling pee'de-de. A good mimic, especially of raptors.

Discussion Familiar and unmistakable, mainly blue bird with a distinct crest. Bold and inquisitive in gardens and parks where it is not persecuted, but otherwise it can be unobtrusive. Opportunistic feeder with varied diet: takes bird-table food as well as eggs and young of songbirds. Sexes are similar.