Cyanocitta stelleri
(Steller's Jay)

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

Physical Description:
11 1/2-13 1/2" (29-34 cm). Dark blue except for a black, crested head and black barring on wings and tail.

Similar Species- Blue Jay

A chook-chook-chook, a nasal kwheck-kwheck, and often a mimic of the Red- tailed Hawk's call.

Resident from portions of Alaska and southwestern Canada, south through western Montana, Wyoming, northern Colorado and western Nebraska to southern California and Arizona, east to portions of Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas, and south from there through highlands of Middle America to Nicaragua.

Found in coniferousClick word for definition and mixed coniferous/deciduous forests, in humid coniferous forests (in northwestern northern America), and in arid pine/oak. Also occurs in open woodlands, campsites, orchards, and gardens. A study in north-central Idaho found no differences in numbers among clearcut, fragmented, and contiguous stands of coniferous forest.

Feeds on acorns, pine seeds, fruits, insects, spiders, small reptiles and amphibians, and eggs and young of small birds.

Builds cup-shaped nest in coniferous (occasionally deciduous) tree. May travel in flocksClick word for definition of a dozen or more, but is less gregariousClick word for definition than other jays. Forages in trees and on ground. cachesClick word for definition food.

Female incubatesClick word for definition 3-5 eggs (usually 4). Nestlings are altricialClick word for definition. Young are tended by both adults.

Element Code:


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

Important State References:
Hutto, R.L. 1993. Effects of clearcutting and fragmentation on the birds of a western coniferous forest. Final report to Clearwater National Forest, Univ. Montana, Missoula. 13pp.

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