NatureMapping Animal Facts

Steller's Jay

distribution map

Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)
Chara Crestada - en Espaņol
Species Code: CYST

Description: Adults: Head, neck and upper back is sooty black, touched with streaks of cerulean blue on the forehead, and pale gray on the chin. They are blue on wings and tail. The terminal portion of tail and wings are crossed with fine black bars. Their bills and feet are black. Young birds are more extensively sooty and wing bars are faint or wanting.

Steller's Jay

The Steller's Jay is about the same size as an American Robin.

Calls: Steller's Jay make a variety of loud and harsh calls. Common call a harsh "shaar," and a rapid rattling "shek, shek, shek, shek."
Listen to calls of this species »

Range/ Habitat: Pacific coast from southern California to Alaska; resident and breeding throughout it's range. The Steller's Jay can be found in mixed forests, hardwood forests, coniferous forest, residential areas, and agricultural areas in forested landscapes.

stellers jay feather by Karen

Click the range map to learn more about the distribution of Steller's Jays in Washington.

Diet: In the fall, winter, and spring their food consists largely of acorns, chestnuts, berries, seeds, grain, insect, lizards etc. During the summer months they destroy and devour a great many eggs and young of smaller birds. They will watch a nest until the full compliment of eggs is laid before stealing the eggs.

Nesting: Their nests consist of a bulky mass of fine twigs thickly plastered centrally with mud and lined with fine rootlets placed 6 to 30 feet high in evergreen tree thickets or near the edge of a clearing. They lay 3 to 5 eggs, usually 4, are pale bluish green, uniformly but moderately spotted with olive brown and pale rufous and with numerous shell markings of lavender. The eggs are usually laid from April to May.

Did you know?

  • The Steller's Jay uses mud in the construction of their nests.
  • Steller's and Blue jays are the only North American jays with crests.
  • Steller's and Blue jays occasionally interbreed and produce hybrids.
  • The feathers have a banding pattern (click the feather to view larger image).
  • Jays will come to bird feeders and take peanuts. They will stuff 1-2 peanuts in their crops (a sac in the throat where food is stored for digestion) before they fly away.
  • Jays will cache (store in ground)nuts to eat during the winter. They will put a leaf or piece of material to mark the location but forget where they store all of them. Their "forgetfulness" allows the nuts to germinate and grow into young trees.

Steller's Jay Silhouette
Steller's Jay
Steller's Jay

Learn more about Steller's Jay

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Photos: Natures Pics

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