Blue Jay: Description, Types, Pictures, & Fun Facts
Scientific Classification of Blue Jay
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordate
- Class: Aves
- Order: Passeriformes
- Family: Corvidae
- Genus: Cyanocitta
- Species: C. cristata
Blue Jay Location
Blue Jay Description
Mark Twain was a great fan of the beauty and elegance of the Blue Jay. The once described “there’s more to a jay than any other creature. A person may call them a bird. Well, so he is, in a measure, because it contains feathers and probably it does not belong to any church however it is as much as human as we and you.
” Blue Jay is native to northern America and it can be also spotted in the eastern and central parts of the United States. It is a passerine bird that is also considered to be migratory in some species.
The blue Jay is a forest-dwelling bird that shows several adapt for survival and the bird is also very intelligent. The “Jay-Jay” call of the blue Jay is very famous and they are also known for their ability to imitate hawk calls.
Five Amazing Facts About Blue Jay
• A brown-colored pigment can be seen in the feathers of blue Jay. However, their body is of blue color which is also considered as the least common color in nature. Thus the blue jay is known as a rare blue animal.
• The blue jay uses their feathers to rub ants on them.
• The paint chip is also collected by the blue jacks.
• The birds can imitate hawk calls.
• When the falls set during the spring and summer months, and mellow down, the blue jay is known to make noise.
Blue Jay Species
The scientific name of the blue jay is Cyanocitta cristata that belongs to the family Corvidae. The species belong to the class Aves and the kingdom Animalia. They are named blue “Jay” due to their ability to make noises that are exactly similar to the original voice.
Blue Jays are further classified into several subspecies. For example, Cyanocitta cristata cyanotephra, Cyanocitta cristata bomla, Cyanocitta cristata, and Cyanocitta cristata semplei.
The species named Cyanocitta cristata is distributed in the areas of south eastern United States including Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, Texas. Another sub-species named Cyanocitta cristata bromine can be seen in the regions of central United States, however.
The members of these sub-species can be also found in some regions of Canada. The Cyanocitta cristata and the Cyanocitta cristata semplei can be seen in southern Florida.
Symbolism of the Blue Jay
The Blue Jay is a very intellectual, vibrant bird and also has vibrancy, which is their symbolism. In their free time, the birds love singing thus they are known as songbirds. The birds are also well known for their creativity.
Sometimes, the birds are used as a totem but the old world birds that are native to the northern hemisphere show much more symbolism than this bird still some tribal groups such as chinooks, Sioux, and Coast Salish tribes consider these birds in their tales and myths.
The Blue Jays get a special place in European folklores. Most of the persons believe that the blue jay is very tricky and it is also able to imitate other living beings. It is also believed that the nests of their bird are preserved in some secret places.
American and European tell a story, which is similar in both. According to the story, the original blue jay was much larger than the present-day bird.
According to a myth, once people use the blue Jay in plowing their fields and kept them captive. The bird wants to reduce its size to avoid trapping and slaving. Thus it urged the Great Spirit to reduce his size.
It is believed that the details found in his chest are the remnant marks that he receive while plowing. They also perform seeding thus they are also linked with the great oak tree. Thus the birds are considered the reincarnated souls of druids by many Celtic people.
The nature of the blue jay is very romantic and platonic. Thus they believe in longevity in relationships. Due to this, they show monogamous habits.
Appearance and Behavior of Blue Jay
The color of the bird is blue thus it is named blue Jay. However, a brown pigment is found in their feathers that give them blue color. The average height of blue Jay is around 9-12 inches and it weighs about 2.5 to 3.5 oz.
A peak is also present, on their head fur changes from grey to white that continuous his throat. Blue Jay consists of a greyish blue colored crest on his head, while the color of his tail and wings is black and white. Thus the bird can be easily distinguished due to its coloration.
It also contains a necklace-like black band around this lower throat. The behavior of a blue Jay is very aggressive. It makes territories and known as a territorial bird. The bird can attack anyone, which he thought a possible predator or intruder. Or if they sense any danger from it.
Blue Jay generally prefers to live in groups thus it is a social bird. The bird communicates by making different sounds or noises. Thus they are considered very vocal organisms.
A “Jay-Jay” call made by these birds is very famous and they also get their name due to this noise beside this, chattering growling and whistles are some other noises made by them.
Habitat of Blue Jay
The parts of eastern and central North America are the common habitats of blue Jay. However, they have also extended their range towards the northwest. The preferred habitats of the bird include coniferous forests.
They can be also spotted in the regions of southern Canada and the United States. Oak trees and beeches are the preferred locations of blue Jay. They can be found in low forest areas.
Their colorful body and loud voice are their distinguishing features. Thus they can be recognized easily in city parks. The bird can be easily spotted in some heavy residential areas.
Diet of the Blue Jay
The blue jay is a generally vegetarian bird. The bird usually eats seeds, acorns, and nuts. However, in some cases, they also feed on grasshoppers, caterpillars, and beetles. They are also seen while consuming eggs and nestlings thus it is considered an omnivorous organism.
Predators and Threats of Blue Jay
The blue Jay has great significance in our ecosystem like other animals and birds. However, it has several predators also such as owls, hawks, and falcons pose a threat of predation on the bird.
The eggs and nestlings of the bird can be consumed by cats, crows, squirrels, and raccoons. The blue Jay is also famous for this practice. Some man-made structures also impose a threat on these birds.
The birds could collide with such structures which is also a danger. Meanwhile, the birds can also die due to several bacterial and viral infections, the bird is listed in the “least concerned” category by the IUCN.
Reproduction and Life Cycle of Blue Jay
The blue jay is a monogamous bird. They form mating pairs for life and spend their whole lives with their partner. The parenting of babies is done by both partners. Usually, the female bird chooses its mating partner.
The mating and selection procedure starts around late winter. The pair starts building several nests that are partially incomplete for their unborn babies when they conceive. The pair settles in a proper location after building the nests.
The birds use foliage, mosses, twigs, leaves, and barks to complete the nest. The gestation period of blue jay is of around 16 to 18 days. Around three to five eggs are laid by the female at a time and the incubation period is of 2 weeks.
During this time the female sits on her eggs and the male blue jay takes care of her because she is fed at that time. After the birth of the baby, it lives for two months in the nest after that the parents and newborn baby spend some time with their family and relatives.
The male and female blue both are responsible to feed their newborn baby during this time. Usually, the average life span of a blue jay is around seven years. However, in captivity, the individuals also live for about 17 to 26 years.
Population of Blue Jay
The population of blue jay is around 13 million all over the world. However, their population is decreasing and from 1960 to 2015 the population decreased by about 28%.
It is estimated that around 87% of their total population is residing in the US while the remaining 13% is living in Canada.
As discussed above, the blue jay is a migratory bird and due to their habit, they move up and down on the Atlantic coast. However, it is still unknown that where they go.