Look for California Scrub-Jays on the West Coast

The raucous call of the California scrub-jay reflects its mischievous behavior. This bright blue western species loves peanuts.

california scrub-jayCourtesy Ellen Rayl

What Do California Scrub-Jays Look Like?

California scrub-jays, formerly known as western scrub jays, are members of the crow or 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. Learn how to identify and attract blue jays.

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. Steller’s jays are clever black and blue birds.

California Scrub-Jay Call

Hoarse rising call of “shreeeenk” or a rapid series “quay-quay-quay” or “cheek-cheek-cheek.”

Listen to their song:

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

california scrub jayCourtesy Sandeep Dhar

What Do California Scrub-Jays Eat?

Diet: Nuts, fruits, insects and small animals. Attract them to your backyard with peanuts, peanut butter, suet, sunflower seeds and cracked corn. What foods do blue jays eat?

California Scrub-Jay Range Map and Habitat

Look for these birds in oak woods, pinyon-juniper woods, parks and backyards. The species is primarily found in coastal regions of the west. A close relative, the island scrub-jay, lives only on California’s Santa Cruz Island.

Western Scrub-Jay Bird SpeciesRange 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.

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Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find he reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.