Jays, Crows & Allies

Pinyon Jay

Pinyon Jay, photo by Chris Batonahorse via Wikimedia Commons

Look for This cool-toned bird is dusty blue-gray, darker at the head, and paler down the body. It has no crest; a long, straight, sharp bill, and a short tail. Its blue underparts distinguish it from other crestless jays, which are pale gray or whitish. It flies with stiff, strong, rapid wingbeats, sometimes high in… Read more

Clark’s Nutcracker

Clark's Nutcracker, photo by Mike's Birds via Wikimedia Commons

Look for Clark’s nutcracker is a bird with a long, straight, black bill that narrows into a sharp tip. Its body and head are a solid pale gray and its wings are black with white patches on the lower half of the secondary feathers. Its tail is black down the center with thick white stripes… Read more

Gray Jay

Gray jay photo by Cephas / Wikimedia

Look For The gray jay is medium-sized in general but is large compared to most other songbirds. It has a full, fluffy plumage that helps it survive the harsh winter climates in which it lives. Its body is stout and round with dark gray upperparts and light gray underparts. It has a grayish-black hood on… Read more

Florida Scrub-Jay

Florida scrub-jay in Port St. John, Florida. Photo by Andrea Westmoreland / Wikimedia Commons.

Look For The Florida scrub-jay is a medium-sized bird that is endemic to Florida. It has a bright blue head, neck, wings, and tail. It has a dull gray back and underparts with grayish-white patches on its throat and around its eyes. Its legs and beak are solid black. Listen For The Florida scrub-jay’s call… Read more

Fish Crow

Fish Crow (Photo: Creative Commons)

In North America, fish crows are most commonly found in the southeastern United States. They are most common in coastal areas and less so inland, where they are typically found along river systems and near large bodies of water. In appearance they are so similar to the widespread and abundant American crow that they can only… Read more

California Scrub-Jay

California Scrub-Jay (Photo: Ingrid Taylar/Creative Commons)

The California scrub-jay is found in dry lowlands, wooded hillsides, and scrub oak forests of the far West, from southern British Columbia to Baja California, Mexico, and as far east as northwestern Nevada. A vocal bird, its loud shack-shack-shack-shack call reverberates as pairs of these raucous birds move about the scrub habitat for which they… Read more

Blue Jay

Blue Jay (Photo: Creative Commons)

Look for Sometimes persecuted by humans as nest robbers or bullies at the feeding station, blue jays are one of our most ornate and lovely birds. Its bright blue mantle contrasts with a white breast. Its wings have intricate patterns of blue, black, and white. The blue tail is crossed with black bars and has… Read more

American Crow

American Crow (Photo: Dick Daniels/Creative Commons)

Look for An unrelieved glossy black from bill to toenail, crows are armed with a stout, strong bill that acts as a chisel, axe, shovel, or forceps, among other uses. Its distinctive wingbeats appear to row the bird through the sky. Listen for Crows are well known for their raucous caw. Evidence suggests that crows… Read more

Common Raven

Common Raven (Photo: DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Look For This large all-black relative for the American crow can soar like an eagle, swoop and dive like a falcon, and is adaptable enough to thrive anywhere. In flight it is the wedge-shaped tail that best separates this species from the American crow (which has a normal fan-shaped tail). They are also separated from… Read more

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