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GAP Analysis Predicted Distribution Map

Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)

Species Code: CYST

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Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only.
© NatureMapping Program

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Predicted breeding range

= Core Habitat
= Marginal Habitat


Stellers Jay photo

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Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only. The habitats were identified using 1991 satellite imagery, Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), other datasets and experts throughout the state, as part of the Washington Gap Analysis Project. Habitats used during non-breeding months and migratory rest-stops were not mapped.

NatureMapping observations map   Map with Breeding 
Bird Atlas records
Observations | Historic Gap points

Metadata (Data about data or how the map was made)


The Steller's Jay occurs commonly in a variety of forested habitats and open or fragmented landscapes within forested zones, mostly at low to moderate elevations, but breeding into alpine parkland. It can be found in mixed forests, hardwood forests, coniferous forest, residential areas, and agricultural areas in forested landscapes.

Good habitat in core zones included all habitats except high-density development, estuaries, and bare ground below the Mountain Hemlock zone (west side), below the Sub-alpine Fir zone (east side) and above the steppe zones. Peripherally it occurred in the Mountain Hemlock, Sub-alpine fir, and Alpine/Parkland zones.

habitat 231 picture habitat 952 picture habitat 524 picture

Generally, Steller's Jays occur in conifer forests characteristic of western temperate areas, and Gray Jays occur in forests with more boreal conditions, but there is tremendous overlap between the two species in Washington. Gray Jays tend to be more common than Steller's Jays at higher elevations, on north-facing slopes, and in cold, wet forests. The Olympic Peninsula Gray Jays prefer dense wet forests, which are less suitable for Steller's Jays. However, Steller's Jays now occur at higher elevations and more commonly on the Olympic Peninsula than previously, due to the presence of people. Structures, food, waste, and forest cutting favor Steller's Jays, leaving Gray Jays to inhabit the remaining unaltered coniferous forest.

Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Webpage designed by Dave Lester