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Gray Jay Perisoreus canadensis


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Gray Jay
credit: Franco Folini /CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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

Description ADULT Has a dark gray back and rear of crown. Nape, forecrown, and underparts are pale gray. Wings are dark, with pale feather margins in most birds; tail is dark. JUVENILE Rather uniformly dark gray overall.

Dimensions Length: 10-13" (25-33 cm)

Habitat Widespread and fairly common resident in taiga and mountain coniferous forests.

Observation Tips Listen for its distinctive calls. Often easy to see if you camp in an established and well-used site in northern forests within the species' range.

Range Plains, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, Northwest, Great Lakes, California, Alaska, New England, Eastern Canada, Rocky Mountains, Western Canada

Voice Utters a soft, fluty pheeoo and a harsh, chattering chakkk.

Discussion Distinctive, plump-bodied bird with a relatively large, rounded head, short bill, and "fluffy," soft-looking plumage. Usually unobtrusive, but sometimes bold and inquisitive, particularly around campsites and picnic areas. An opportunistic feeder that lives in small groups outside the breeding season. Sexes are similar.