Nucifraga columbiana
(Clark's Nutcracker)

Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Corvidae
Family Description: Crows and Jays

Physical Description:
12-13" (30-33 cm). Black wings and tail with large white patches; gray body with white undertail coverts; dark bill and eyes.

Similar Species- Gray Jay, Pinyon Jay

A guttural kraa-kraa, and a repeated, dry krak-krak-krak-krak-krak

Resident from central British Columbia, southwestern Alberta, western and central Montana, and western and southeastern Wyoming, south through mountains of central Washington, eastern Oregon, and central and eastern California and Nevada, to northern Baja California. Also present in Rockies to east-central Arizona and southern New Mexico. Wanders irregularly beyond normal range.

Found in open coniferousClick word for definition forests and in forest edges and clearings (primarily in mountains, but also in lowlands in winter). Preliminary results of Idaho-Montana study suggest Clark's Nutcrackers are more common in rotation-aged than old-growth Douglas-fir stands.

Pine seeds are primary food for both adults and nestlings, but individuals will also eat insects, acorns, berries, snails, carrionClick word for definition, and, sometimes, eggs and young of small birds.

Builds cup-shaped nest in tree. Takes food from foliage. cachesClick word for definition food; nearly all winter food, and much of breeding season food, is derived from pine seeds collected and stored in fall. May travel in large flocksClick word for definition (25-100 birds).

Both sexes incubateClick word for definition 2- 6 eggs (usually 2-3), for 17-18 days. Young leave nest at 24-28 days.

Element Code: ABPAV08010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
National Rank: N5

Important State References:
Hejl, S.J. and R.E. Woods. 1990. Bird assemblages in old-growth and rotation-aged Douglas-fir/Ponderosa pine stands in the northern Rocky Mountains: a preliminary assessment. Pp. 93-100 in D.M. Baumgartner and J.E. Lotan, eds., Proceedings of a Symposium on Interior Douglas-fir: the species and its management. Feb. 27, 1990, Spokane WA.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.