Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

Blue Jay

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Corvidae | [latin] Cyanocitta cristata | [UK] Blue Jay | [FR] Geai bleu | [DE] Blauhaher | [ES] Chara Azul | [NL] Blauwe Gaai


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Cyanocitta cristata NA c, e
Cyanocitta cristata bromia
Cyanocitta cristata cristata
Cyanocitta cristata cyanotephra
Cyanocitta cristata semplei

Physical charateristics

A showy, noisy, blue bird with a crest;
larger than a Robin. Bold white spots in wings and tail; whitish or dull gray underparts; black necklace. Widespread east of the Rockies, but expanding northwestward.

Listen to the sound of Blue Jay

[audio: Jay.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 34 cm wingspan max.: 43 cm
size min.: 25 cm size max.: 30 cm
incubation min.: 17 days incubation max.: 18 days
fledging min.: 17 days fledging max.: 21 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 7  


North America : Central, East


Oak and pine woods, suburban gardens, groves, towns. Breeds in deciduous or mixed woods, av
oiding purely coniferous forest. May be in fairly low or scrubby forest in southern part of range. Favors habitat with many oak or beech trees. Often common in well-wooded suburbs or city parks.


Courtship may involve aerial chases; male may feed female. Blue Jays become quiet and inconspicuous around the nest, but will attack with loud calls if the nest is threatened by a predator.
Nest: Site is in tree (either coniferous or deciduous), placed in vertical crotch of trunk or at horizontal fork in limb well out from trunk; usually 8-30′ above ground, sometimes 5-
50′ up. Nest (built by both sexes) is a bulky open cup made of twigs, grass, weeds, bark strips, moss, sometimes held together with mud. Nest is lined with rootlets and other fine materials, often decorated with paper, rags, string, or other debris.

Eggs: 4-5, sometimes 3-7. Greenish or buff, sometimes pale blue, spotted with brown and gray. Incubation is by both parents (but female does more), about 16-18 days.
Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Young leave nest 17-21 days after hatching.

Feeding habits

Most of diet is vegetable matter, especially in winter, including acorns, beechnuts, and other nuts, many kinds of seeds, grain, berries, small fruits, sometimes cultivated fruits. Eats many insects, especially caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers, and ot
hers; also eats spiders, snails, birds’ eggs, sometimes small rodents, frogs, baby birds, carrion, other items.
Behavior: Forages in trees and shrubs and on ground. Comes to feeders for seeds or suet. Pounds on hard nuts or seeds with bill to break them open. Will harvest acorns and store them in holes.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Blue Jay status Least Concern


Southern Canada, mainly east of Rockies to Gulf States. Wanders in winter west to dash line.

Distribution map

Blue Jay distribution range map

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