Aphelocoma californica
(Western Scrub Jay)


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

Physical Description:
11-13" (28-33 cm). Head, wings, and tail blue; back gray; breast whitish with incomplete blue necklace.

Similar Species- Gray-breasted Jay, Pinyon Jay

Song:
A coarse, squeaky iennk.

Distribution:
Resident from southwestern Washington, southwestern Wyoming, Colorado, and central Texas, south through southwestern U.S. to southern Baja California and Oaxaca, Mexico. Also resides in central Florida.

Habitat:
Found in scrub (especially oak, pinyon and juniper), brush, chaparralClick word for definition, and pine/oak associations. When not breeding, also found in riparianClick word for definition woodlands, gardens, orchards, and lowland brushy areas.

Diet:
Feeds on nuts (acorns, pinyon), grains (corn, oats), fruits, insects (wasps, bees, caterpillars, cutworms, grasshoppers, etc.), mollusks, eggs and young of small birds, mice, shrews, frogs, and lizards.

Ecology:
Builds cup-shaped nest in deciduous (occasionally coniferous) tree; will sometimes nest in shrub. Forages on ground. cachesClick word for definition food, particularly nuts. Travels alone or in small family groups. In Florida, a similar species, groups of related birds defend year-round territories.

Reproduction:
Female incubatesClick word for definition 2-7 eggs (usually 4-6), for 16 days. Young are tended by parents and (in Florida) young of previous broodClick word for definition. Young leave nest at about 18 days, and first breed as early as 1 yr in some areas, 2+ yr in Florida and on Santa Cruz Island, California. Adults form long-term pair bond. There is a high adult survivorship.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABPAV06040
U.S. ESA Status: LT
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S2
National Rank: N3

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.


Photo by C. S. Robbins, ©2002
Design by Ean Harker 1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.