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 coniferous 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, carrion, and, sometimes, eggs and young of small birds.
Builds cup-shaped nest in tree. Takes food from foliage. caches 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 flocks (25-100 birds).
Both sexes incubate 2- 6 eggs (usually 2-3), for 17-18 days. Young leave nest at 24-28 days.
|Status:||Protected nongame species|
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.