10 Species of Jay In North America


Jays are one of the major species of corvids in North America with crows, ravens, and magpies. The word “corvid” comes from the Latin word Corvus for raven. This post will discuss these birds individually to give you an idea of their behavior pattern and their looks.

There are ten species of jay in North America. These are the blue jay, brown jay, Canada jay, green jay, Mexican jay, pinyon jay, Steller’s jay. The three species of scrub jay that make up this list are the California scrub jay, Florida scrub jay, and the Island scrub jay.

Jays are the most colorful of the corvids in North America. They can be brightly colored with blue, green, and purple feathers that are often used to attract a mate or show off their territory. Jays make loud calls when they’re feeling threatened by predators such as hawks which can be heard from long away, warning others about danger nearby.

Want to know more about crows?  Find out here.

Blue jay
Martin Cathrae
Flickr CC2.0

Blue Jay

The blue jay is a beautiful bird that can be found throughout the eastern United States and in Newfoundland in Canada. They are known for their bright colors and the way they live in flocks.

The blue jay is a charismatic bird that can be found in many habitats across North America such as woods and forests. They can also be found in residential areas such as parks and even in gardens.

The blue jay’s diet consists of nuts, fruits, seeds and berries. Nuts are a particular favorite as they have strong bills to crack them open. They will also feed on small insects as well as grains and acorns.

Blue Jays lay between 3 and 6 eggs. Jays are social birds so fledglings will stay with the parents until fall. They build nests in trees or bushes. The nests are made of twigs, roots, moss, plant material, feathers, and bark.

Blue Jays have many interesting ways of communicating and make many different sounds. They use various calls, including squawking and screaming, which is usually used to announce to others there is a predator in the area. Blue jays can also mimic the sound of hawks.

Birds are diverse in their size, colors, diet, and other ways.  Find out more in this article I wrote

Brown jay
Becky Matsubara Flickr CC2.0

Brown Jay

Brown Jays can be found only in certain areas in North America. They can be found in the Rio Grande in Texas and down to Mexico and Central America.

Many people think that the Brown Jay is a small bird. But in reality, it’s actually one of the largest songbirds found in North America. Its wingspan is typically around 27 inches long and can weigh up to 200g.

Brown jays are medium-sized birds found in woodland along forest edges, around clearings, and throughout open woods. They have brown feathers and a grayish-white underbelly with a black bill.

Brown jays eat insects, seeds, nuts, berries, and other fruit and can often be seen feeding on nectar from flowers. They also love to peck on tree bark for insects that hide there.

Do you know if birds can see in color?  Find out in this article I wrote

Canada jay
Becky Matsubara
Flickr CC2.0

Canada Jay

Canada jays can be found in North American forests and are known to many people that have gone for a hike in the woods. They have gray feathers with a lighter belly and can often be seen following hikers. These birds are often called “camp robbers” because they follow hikers and beg for food and steal food from campsites. Bold individuals can often be seen around campsites.

The Canada jay is also known as the gray jay, or whiskey jack, a name that they get from the Cree word, wiiskachaan. One of their most unique features is that they have a song called a whisper song, comprised of soft notes and clicks.

Canada jays are a common sight in North America during the winter months. They build nests in conifer trees and use them as roosts for warmth and protection from predators. Although they are not necessarily migratory birds, Canada jays will migrate to warmer climates if the temperature drops very low.

Why do birds sing in the morning?  Find out here.

Green jay
Melanie Flickr CC2.0

Green Jay

The green jay is an uncommon bird in the United States but can be found in Southern Texas. It has a very distinctive call and its beautiful plumage makes it stand out from other birds.

The green jay is named for the bright green feathers on its back. They have beautiful bright blue feathers on its head and around the eyes. It’s one of the most colorful birds that can be seen in the United States.

Green jays are a medium-sized, uncommon bird in the United States. Although they are common throughout most of their range, they can only be found in Texas in the U.S. They measure up to 29cm and weigh up to 110grams. They can be very noisy, often making a sound like an alarm bell.

Are birds born with feathers?  The answer might surprise you.  Find out here.

Mexican jay
David Fulmer Flickr CC2.0

Mexican Jay

The Mexican jay can be found from Central Mexico up to southwest Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. They have blue wings and upperparts, and a pale gray underbelly. They are omnivores eating seeds and nuts, feeding on acorns and pine nuts. They also feed on insects, amphibians, and reptiles, along with other nestlings and eggs.

Mexican jays are found in the southern half of North America. They are very social birds that live in family groups called bands, which can be as large as 10 to 12 individuals. Mexican jays have a variety of vocalizations to communicate with each other including alarm calls, warning calls, and calling for food. The latter is used during times when they need help finding food or defending their territory from another band.

Mexican jays are found in the southern half of North America. They are very social birds that live in family groups called bands, which can be as large as 10 to 12 individuals. Mexican jays have a variety of vocalizations to communicate with each other including alarm calls and warning calls when they need help defending their territory from another band. They also have calls for food if they have difficulty finding food.

Pinyon jay
Chris Flickr CC2.0

Pinyon Jay

The pinyon jay is a medium-sized bird and can often be seen in large flocks of over 250 birds. They are gray with a white underbelly that has black streaks on it as well!

The pinyon Jay can be found in the southwestern United States in Arizona, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, and Baja California. They migrate south to Mexico and to the warmer climates of Texas and Montana.

Pinyon jays eat bugs, beetles, and other small insects, which they often catch with their feet. They eat fruit such as berries and get their name from their love of pinyon seeds which they feed on.

Nightjars are fascinating birds.  Find out how they hunt in this article I wrote.

Scrub jay
Becky Matsubara Flickr CC2.0

Scrub Jay

There are 3 species of scrub jays in North America. These are the Florida scrub jay, the Island scrub jay from Santa Cruz Island, and the California scrub jay.

Scrub jays are medium-sized birds that can be found in woodland along the forest edges, around clearings, and throughout open woods. They have blue wings, tails, and heads with a grayish-white underbelly. Their color leads many people to misidentify them as blue jays.

Scrub jays eat insects such as bugs or beetles along with other items such as seeds, nuts, and berries. They are well known to cache their food. However, because they are mischievous, they can often be seen stealing food from other jays.

Scrub jays are now thought to be some of the most intelligent of all birds, and indeed animals on the planet. Their brain-to-body mass is similar to chimpanzees and dolphins. They have been known to plan ahead for the future, especially when caching their food, and they can remember where up to 200 of these caches are.

There are six species of quail in North America.  Find out what they are in this article I wrote 

Steller’s jay Colin Durfee Flickr CC2.0

Steller’s Jay

Steller’s jays are one of the most iconic bird species found in North America. They have blue wings and tails, with a darker gray back and a crested head. Many people mistake this bird for the blue jay due to their coloring, but their crested tuft is a good way of telling them apart. They also have longer legs and a slender bill.

Steller’s jays can be found from Alaska down to Nicaragua. They can be seen in the western United States as far east as the Rocky Mountains and Alberta in Canada. Most are resident but some will move depending on the temperature in the winter.

These birds are omnivores and eat mostly seeds, berries, nuts, and fruits. About a third of their diet consists of bird eggs, rodents, reptiles, carrion, and insects.

There are three species of cuckoo in North America.  Find out what they are in this article I wrote

Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Nature.

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