Look for a California Scrub-Jay on the West Coast
The raucous call of the bright blue California scrub-jay reflects its mischievous behavior. This western species loves to eat peanuts.
What Does a California Scrub-Jay Look Like?
The California scrub-jay, formerly known as the western scrub-jay, is a member of the corvid family. Western scrub-jays were split into two species—Woodhouse’s and California—in 2016. Both males and females are bright blue with a white belly and gray patch on the back. Unlike blue jays, they do not have a head crest. These birds measure 11 1/2 inches long with a wingspan of 15 1/2 inches.
Steller’s jays are clever black and blue birds.
California Scrub-Jay Nest and Eggs
After the pair builds a bulky nest of twigs in a low tree or shrub, the female lays three to six green or gray spotted eggs.
Canada jays are curious, cold-hardy birds.
California Scrub-Jay Call
These birds make a hoarse rising call of “shreeeenk” or a rapid series “quay-quay-quay” or “cheek-cheek-cheek.” They make scolding cries and sing sweet, quiet, musical songs when with their mate, as most jay species do.
Listen to their song:
Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Don’t miss beautiful blue jay photos you need to see.
What Does a California Scrub-Jay Eat?
“The California scrub-jays were vocal on the morning that I took this photo (above). A jay with an acorn in its beak settled briefly on an outer branch of a coast live oak. I had only a few moments to capture it flying away to its next spot,” says Sandeep Dhar of San Diego, California.
Range Map and Habitat
Look for these birds in oak woods, pinyon-juniper woods, parks, shrubby areas and backyards. The species is primarily found in coastal regions of the west. The birds replace the blue jay in many western backyards. A close relative, the island scrub-jay, lives only on California’s Santa Cruz Island. Find out why the blue jay range is expanding westward.
Range maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.
Next, learn how to tell the difference between bluebirds and blue jays.