Eurasian jay

Garrulus glandarius subfamily

Corvinae taxonomy

Garrulus glandarius Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden. About 33 subspecies.

other common names

English: Red-crowned jay (in India); French: Geai des chenes; German: Eichelhaher; Spanish: Arrendejo Común.

physical characteristics

12.48-14.04 in (32-36 cm); 4.9-6.55 oz (140-187 g). Subspecies vary significantly in plumage color and pattern, but generally this bird has a pinkish brown body, white wing patches, blue shoulders, and a black tail. The head features a black moustache and crown feathers that appear ruffled when erect. Bill is dark brownish horn, and legs and feet are fleshy-brown.

distribution

Most widespread of all jays, found in all but northernmost parts of Europe, north Africa, Middle East, central and Southeast Asia.

habitat

Both deciduous and coniferous woodland.

behavior

Normally shy and solitary. Presence given away by loud, screeching call.

feeding ecology and diet

Eats and stores enormous quantities of acorns. Also feeds on other seeds, invertebrates, eggs, and nestlings.

reproductive biology

Solitary nester, building platform twig nest in fork of tree. Lays three to seven eggs April through May. Incubation 16-19 days; fledging 18-23 days.

conservation status

Not threatened. Common to abundant in most of its range.

significance to humans

Thought to be primarily responsible for planting of Old World oak forests. Individuals bury thousands of acorns in fall for later consumption. ♦

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