Stellers Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)

Stellers Jay

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Corvidae | [latin] Cyanocitta stelleri | [UK] Stellers Jay | [FR] Geai de Steller | [DE] Diademhaher | [ES] Chara Crestada | [NL] Stellers Gaai


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Aphelocoma stelleri
Cyanocitta stelleri NA, MA w
Cyanocitta stelleri annectens
Cyanocitta stelleri azteca
Cyanocitta stelleri carbonacea
Cyanocitta stelleri carlottae
Cyanocitta stelleri coronata
Cyanocitta stelleri diademata
Cyanocitta stelleri frontalis
Cyanocitta stelleri macrolopha
Cyanocitta stelleri phillipsi
Cyanocitta stelleri purpurea
Cyanocitta stelleri restricta
Cyanocitta stelleri stelleri
Cyanocitta stelleri suavis

Physical charateristics

A large, dark, black and blue bird with a long crest
. Foreparts blackish; rear parts (wings, tail, belly) deep blue. In the conifer woodlands between the Rockies and Pacific, this is the resident jay with a crest.

Listen to the sound of Stellers Jay

[audio: Jay.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 42 cm wingspan max.: 46 cm
size min.: 30 cm size max.: 34 cm
incubation min.: 15 days incubation max.: 17 days
fledging min.: 15 days fledging max.: 17 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 6  


North America, Middle America : West


Conifer and pine-oak forests.
Most numerous as a breeder in the mountains and along the northern coast in forests of pine, spruce, and fir; also lives in pine-oak forest, and locally in riverside groves of oaks and other deciduous trees. Especially when not nesting, will range into o
ther woodland types, orchards, and well-wooded suburbs.


In courtship, male feeds female. Adults are quiet and secretive while nesting, but become noisy and aggressive if nest is threatened.
Nest: Site is in tree, usually coniferous; sometimes in deciduous tree or shrub. Height varies, usually 10-
30′ above the ground, sometimes lower or much higher. Nest (built by both sexes) is a bulky ragged cup of twigs, weeds, moss, dry leaves, cemented together with mud and lined with fine grass, rootlets, and pine needles. Bits of paper often added to nest.

Eggs: 4, sometimes 3-5, rarely 2-6. Pale blue-green, finely spotted with brown or olive. Incubation is mostly or entirely by female, about 16-18 days.
Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Age of young at first flight not well known, about 3 weeks.

Feeding habits

Omnivorous. Diet is about two-thirds vegetable and one-third animal matter. Feeds heavily on pine seeds, acorns,
and other nuts and seeds, especially during fall and winter; also eats many berries and wild fruits, sometimes cultivated fruit. Especially in summer, eats many insects, including beetles, wasps, and wild bees. Also eats spiders, birds’ eggs, table scraps
, sometimes small rodents or lizards.
Behavior: Forages mostly high in trees but also low or on ground. Opens hard seeds and acorns by pounding on them with bill.


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 increasing, 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.
Stellers Jay status Least Concern


Western North America south; southeastern Alaska, southwestern Canada south through conifer regions of Pacific states and Rockies to Nicaragua. Migration:
Often a permanent resident, but may move to lower elevations in winter. Occasionally stages large invasions into lowlands, perhaps when food crops fail in the mountains.

Distribution map

Stellers Jay distribution range map

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