Blue jay

Cyanocitta cristata subfamily

Corvinae taxonomy

Cyanocitta cristata Linnaeus, 1758, South Carolina. Four subspecies.

other common names

French: Geai bleu; German: Blauhaher; Spanish: Chara azul. physical characteristics

9.36-11.7 in (24-30 cm); 2.27-3.8 oz (65-109 g). Upperparts and jaunty crest are purplish blue. Wings and tail are brighter blue and have prominent black barring; wings also have white spots. Chin, face, throat and underparts are grayish white. Long bill, legs, and feet are black.

distribution

Eastern and central North America, with Rocky Mountains forming broad western limit.

habitat

Woodland, parks, and suburbs.

behavior

Noisy and bold visitor to many backyards. Generally forages alone or in pairs.

feeding ecology and diet

Highly opportunistic feeder, supplementing a seed and nut diet with birds, mammals, invertebrates, and human garbage.

reproductive biology

Solitary tree nester. Uses mud to hold its twig, root, and feather nest together. Generally lays four to five eggs late March through early June. Incubation 16-18 days; fledging 18-21 days. Frequently double brooded.

conservation status

Not threatened. Very common, with range expanding northwestward.

significance to humans

Iconic status, with the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, a record label, and a Beatles song all named after this bird. ♦

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