Stellars Jay ( Cyanocitta stelleri )

The Stellars Jay ( Cyanocitta stelleri ) is a common character found in the forests of the western half of the United States. The bird is an opportunistic omnivore and closely related to the Blue Jay. The Stellars Jay has a black crested head and a vibrant blue body which is commonly about between eleven and twelve inches long. This bird has a lot of variations depending on location.

Stellar's Jay ( Cyanocitta stelleri ) stealing peanuts in Big Bear, California
A Stellar’s Jay ( Cyanocitta stelleri ) stealing peanuts in Big Bear, California

The Stellars Jay is commonly, mistakenly, called a “Blue Jay” in the Pacific Northwest. The Stellar, however, is a distinct species from the Blue Jay ( Cyanocitta cristata ). The major differentiating characteristic is the Blue Jay does not have a crest.

Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

This bird commonly feeds upon seeds, nuts and acorns. Speaking from first hand information, they also love unsalted peanuts. The will also eat insects and other small invertebrates, including mammals. They are also known to raid other birds nests and can be very aggressive with other birds.

Stellars Jay breed in monogamous pairs and a clutch of eggs is typically 3 – 5 in number. Both parents are active is feeding the young.

Distribution

The Stellar’s Jay is a common bird located primarily in pine-oak woodlands and coniferous forests. The dark blue and black coloring of the species helps aid in camouflage in the shadows of the forest.

The species is fairly bold and aggressive in its behavior and it is quite common to encounter them around campgrounds and picnic areas.

This animal is found across most of the western states. The bird is known to cross breed with the Blue Jay when their ranges overlap.

The range of this bird is as far north as Alaska and to the south in Nicaragua. The Eastern boundary in the United States for this bird is Colorado and New Mexico.

Classification

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyCorvidae
GenusCyanocitta
Speciescristata

References

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