BIRD OF THE WEEK / WEEK 31: July 30, 2018

© Liron Gertsman

Bird

Steller’s Jay

Species Name

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. 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 amount of coniferous seeds and acorns and a wide variety of other seeds and nuts, berries and invertebrates. 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 broods

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