Eurasian Jay

Eurasian Jay

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Garrulus glandarius
Population size
33-65.1 mln
Life Span
3-17 yrs
WEIGHT
150-190 g
LENGTH
32-36 cm
WINGSPAN
55 cm

The Eurasian jay is a small passerine bird with pinkish brown plumage. The whitish throat is bordered on each side by a prominent black mustache stripe. The forehead and crown are whitish with black stripes. The rump is white. The complex coloring on the upper surface of the wing includes black and white bars and a prominent bright blue patch with fine black bars. The tail of this bird is mainly black.

Di

Diurnal

Om

Omnivore

Ar

Arboreal

Te

Terrestrial

Al

Altricial

Zo

Zoochory

Ov

Oviparous

Mo

Monogamy

Ge

Generally solitary

Do

Dominance hierarchy

No

Not a migrant

E

starts with

Habits and Lifestyle

Eurasian jays are shy secretive birds that are often heard rather than seen. They are generally solitary but may sometimes spend time in small family groups and during cold periods of the year, they gather in large communal roosts. Eurasian jays are active during the day and feed in both trees and on the ground. They often cache their food, especially oak acorns and beechnuts for winter and spring. Caching usually occurs throughout the year, but it is most intense in the autumn. Their usual call is the alarm call which is a harsh, rasping screech and is used upon sighting various predatory animals. Eurasian jays are also well known for their mimicry, often sounding so like a different species that it is virtually impossible to distinguish their true identity unless jays are seen. They will even imitate the sound of the bird they are attacking, such as a Tawny owl, which they do if attacking during the day.

Seasonal behavior
Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

Eurasian jays are omnivores. They take a wide range of invertebrates including many pest insects, acorns (oak seeds, which it buries for use during winter), beech and other seeds, fruits such as blackberries and rowan berries, young birds and eggs, bats, and small rodents.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
spring
INCUBATION PERIOD
16-19 days
INDEPENDENT AGE
10-11 weeks
BABY NAME
chick
BABY CARRYING
4-6 eggs

Eurasian jays are monogamous and form long-lasting pair bonds. Their breeding season occurs in spring. Pairs nest solitarily in trees or large shrubs laying usually 4-6 eggs that hatch after 16-19 days. The chicks are blind and naked when they hatch and fledge generally after 21-23 days. Both parents typically feed the young for another 7-8 weeks, before they become completely independent. Reproductive maturity is attained at 1-2 years of age.

Population

Population threats

Eurasian jays are not considered threatened or endangered at present, however, in the past they were collected for their bright wing feathers and were also heavily persecuted by farmers.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Eurasian jay is 33,000,000-65,100,000 mature individuals. In Europe, the breeding population consists of 7,480,000-14,600,000 pairs, which equates to 15,000,000-29,300,000 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Ecological niche

Eurasian jays are habitual acorn hoarders. In recent years, these birds have begun to migrate into urban areas, possibly as a result of the continued erosion of their woodland habitat. Before humans began planting the trees commercially on a wide scale, Eurasian jays were the main source of movement and propagation for the European oak as each bird can spread more than a thousand acorns each year! Eurasian jays also bury the acorns of other oak species and have been cited by the National Trust as a major propagator of the largest population of Holm oak in Northern Europe, situated in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight. Jays are able to carry single acorns as far as 20 km and are credited with the rapid northward spread of oaks following the last ice age.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The Eurasian jay is called simply as 'jay', without any epithets, by English speakers in Great Britain and Ireland.
  • In order to keep their plumage free from parasites, Eurasian jays lie on top of anthills with spread wings and let their feathers be sprayed with formic acid.
  • Similar to other corvids, Eurasian jays are intelligent birds and have been reported to plan for future needs. Males also take into account the desires of their partner when sharing food with her as a courtship ritual and when protecting food items from stealing conspecifics.

References

1. Eurasian Jay on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_jay
2. Eurasian Jay on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/103723684/118779004
3. Xeno-canto bird call - https://xeno-canto.org/707403

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