Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Blue jay

Cyanocitta cristata

(Photo from Wallpaper Collections)

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

It is common in the eastern half of North America, from southern Canada down to Florida and Texas. The western edge of the range stops where the arid pine forest and scrub habitat of the closely related Steller's jay Cyanocitta stelleri begins. The range as recently expanded north-westwards and is now a regular visitor to the north-west of the United States and the southern Pacific coast of Canada.

The blue jay is a medium-sized bird with a length of 22-30 cm and a wingspan of 34-43 cm. These birds weigh up to 100 g.

The blue Jay occupies a variety of habitats within its large range, from pine woods to spruce-fir forests. It is less abundant in denser forests, preferring mixed woodlands with oaks and beeches. It has expertly adapted to human activity, occurring in parks and residential areas, and can adapt to deforested areas if human activity creates other means for the jays to get by.

The blue jay is an omnivorous bird, eating a wide range of food. In the winter they mostly eat plant matter, including acorns, beechnuts, seeds and berries. At other times they will feed on grasshopper and other large insects, caterpillars, mice, bird eggs and baby birds.

Blue jays typically form monogamous pairs form life. Both sexes build the nest, a cup-shaped bowl composed of twigs, small roots, bark strips, moss, cloth, paper and feathers. The nest is placed at a height of 3 to 10 m, in a tree or shrub. They can also nest in mailboxes and even appropriate the nests of other songbirds. The clutch of 4-5 eggs is layed in April-May and incubated for 16-18 days by the female. Both parents raise the chicks until fledging which takes place 17-21 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
With a population of 22 million and a wide breeding range, there are no significant threats to this species at present.

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