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Jay (Garrulus glandarius)

Jays are a colourful crow and are known for caching acorns.

Common name: jay

Scientific name: Garrulus glandarius

Family: Corvidae (crows)

Appearance 

Head: the jay has a pale crown with black streaks, and black facial markings. Its bill is also black in colour. 

Wings: a distinctive blue and black banded pattern is visible on the jay’s wing, as well as white and black patches. 

Body: the jay has a pink-light brown colour plumage, black tail and white rump. 

Where to spot

Found in deciduous and coniferous woodlands throughout the UK, but absent in northern Scotland. It may also appear in parks and gardens.

Feeding

Acorns are an important food source, as well as invertebrates, such as beetles, seeds and other nuts. Meat may also form part of its diet in the form of small mammals or chicks.

Breeding

April is usually the beginning of the nesting period, in which four to five eggs are laid. Nests are constructed in trees using twigs, with roots and hair used for lining. The male will help build the nest and feed the young. Chicks will fledge at around 22 days old.

Threats

Jays were persecuted in the past and loss of wooded habitats and poor acorn harvests can harm jays.

We help by protecting, restoring and expanding woodland, creating habitats for woodland wildlife, meaning jays continue to plant more oaks!

Facts

  • In flight the bird’s white rump is clearly visible and the wings look rounded in shape.
  • Jays will hop around when on the ground, often in search of acorns to hide. Storing acorns away is called caching however not all acorns are found again so some are left to grow into oak trees.
  • It has a characteristic ‘screeching’ call which alerts listeners to its presence.