Steller’s Jay

Photo: Don Enright

Common Name

Steller’s Jay

Species Names

Cyanocitta stelleri

Appearance

30-34 cm length | 44 cm wingspan | 100-140 gm weight

Closely related to the Blue Jay, the Steller’s Jay has longer legs, a more slender bill and a much larger crest – think of a feathery mowhawk. They have a long body, an often upright stance, broad, rounded wings and a long tail.

The Steller’s Jay has a brown-black or blue-black head that gradually fades down through the chest and shoulders turning to grey-blue and eventually bright blue in the primaries and tail. The tail and wings have black barring. They may have light-blue streaks on the forehead and a small, white patch above the eye. The legs and bill are black. 

Habitat/Behaviour

Omnivore | Woodland

The Steller’s Jay prefers forests and heavily wooded areas although it isn’t uncommon to see them in lightly wooded environments or residential and agricultural areas that have a forest nearby.

Steller’s Jays forage in trees and on the ground for plant and animal matter. They eat a considerable quantity of seeds from coniferous trees like pine and Douglas fir, and acorns. A wide variety of other seeds and nuts, berries and invertebrates are also common in their diet. They may also take eggs and nestlings, small rodents and small reptiles.

Breeding

Monogamous | Tree nester | 2-6 Greenish-blue eggs with brown speckles | 1 set of young per year

Calls include the harsh SHACK-Sheck-sheck-sheck-sheck-sheck or a skreeka! skreeka! They also make a softer hoodle hoodle whistle. It is known for its vocal mimicry, imitating other birds, animals and man-made sounds. They will imitate the call of raptors to successfully frighten away smaller birds from shared feeding sources.

Events

Where can you learn more during Vancouver Bird Week?

 

Event Title: tag line/short description

Event Title: tag line/short description

Event Title: tag line/short description 

For all Vancouver Bird Week events and activities click here. 

Related Links