California Scrub Jay
Drier scrublands as well as oak woodlands and pinyon pine areas
Pacific coastal states from Washington to Baja California as well as northwestern Nevada
Least Concern (IUCN Red List)
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
California scrub jays are known for their beautiful blue feathers. Their heads and wings are blue, as well as their long tails. Unlike some of the other jay species, California scrub jays do not have a head crest. Their underparts have white and light gray feathers and they have light gray feathers on their sides. California scrub jays can grow to nearly 12 inches in length with a 15 inch wing span.
California scrub jays are a part of the family Corvidae along with magpies, crows, and other jays.
California scrub jays are well-known as “western scrub jays,” and may be found in some identification guides under that name. A local name that has been used for California scrub jays is the shortened, “scrub jay.” In 2016. California scrub jays and Woodhouse’s scrub jays were declared to be separate species.
Scrub jays forage for food on the ground and are considered omnivores. They frequent bird feeders and especially like to eat sunflower seeds and peanuts. In addition to seeds and nuts, scrub jays will eat small rodents, amphibians, reptiles, berries, and insects.
California scrub jays can be seen in most parks in the Truckee Meadows that have scrub, pinion, pine, and oak trees. Scrub jays have been known to land on unattended picnic tables to investigate and sometimes consume human food.
The Spanish name for this bird is Chara californiana.
National Audubon Society, on-line guide to North American Birds, 2021, audubon.org
IUCN Red List, Western Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica, assessed 2016, site 2021, icunredlist.org
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, on-line guide All About Birds, California Scrub-Jay, 2021,
Image: Becky Matsubera, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:California_Scrub-Jay_(38808625355).jpg, license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en, cropped from original.
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