Steller’s Jay

Cyanocitta stelleri

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  • Steller’s Jay |  Photo: Jim Peaco, NPS
  • Steller’s Jay |  Photo: Jim Peaco, NPS
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Steller’s Jay Photo Gallery

Basic Information

Order

Passeriformes

Family

Corvidae

Size

Steller's Jays are generally between 11.75 and 13.5 inches in length.

Lifespan

up to 16 years

Weight

Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) facts, habitat, range, jay pictures and bird watching tips to help you identify the songbird.

Diet

Omnivore

Behavior

Ground Forager

Range

Western U.S. Mountains

Nest Placement

Tree

Number of Offspring

2–5 Eggs

Egg Description

Blue Green with dark brown specks

Condition at Hatching

Feeble, eyes closed

Social Status

Small Flocks

Wingspan

17.25–17.75 in

Observation Tips

To see a Steller's Jays in the wild, take a mountain hike along your favorite trail running through the west's thick evergreen forests. We've had great luck in Yosemite National Park!

What does the Steller’s Jay look like?

Steller's Jays are large songbirds. They have stocky bodies, large heads, long tails and pointed black bills. They have matte black heads and backs with a prominent crest. The rest of their bodies are a brilliant blue with black barring on the wings.

Steller’s Jay Habitat

Forests

Steller’s Jay Facts

Steller's Jays are large dark songbirds of the evergreen forests in the American west. They are common in the western National Parks and forests. They also carry the banner of being the most misspelled bird species. While they are "stellar," they were named in 1741 after naturalist Georg "Steller." Steller's Jays and Blue Jays are the only North American jays to use mud to build their nests. Also where territories of the two species overlap they occasionally interbreed, creating a hybrid. Steller's Jays have a raspy chirping song, but are also incredible mimics. They can mimic other songbirds, birds of prey, even cats and dogs. They are also bold, intelligent and rather aggressive. They are notorious for robbing other songbird's nests and even attacking and killing other smaller birds.

See also