Gray Jay

Perisoreus canadensis

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Code 4

GRAJ

Code 6

PERCAN

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Gray Jay is found in boreal forests throughout North America, in the Rocky Mountains, New Mexico and Arizona. Their natural habitat is found in woodlands that contain vast numbers of black spruce, white spruce, jack pine, lodgepole pine and Englemann spruce. These birds require cold climates because they store their food all year long. They are typically year-round residents, and eat spiders, insects, mushrooms and berries. This species is also prey to bird-eating hawks, and food stores prevent them from having to move southward in the winter. The conservation rating of the Gray Jay is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Gray Jay: Medium-sized, fluffy, crestless jay with gray upperparts, paler underparts, and a short bill. Tail is long and white-tipped. Feeds on insects, carrion, refuse, seed, nuts, berries, mice, eggs and young of other birds. Light and bouyant flight on steady wing beats. Glides between perches.


Range and Habitat

Gray Jay: Found from tree line in northern Canada and Alaska south through boreal and subalpine forests to northern California on the west coast, Arizona and New Mexico in the Rocky Mountains, northern Wisconsin in the Midwest, and New York in the east. Found in coniferous and coniferous-deciduous forests.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"whee-ah", "chuck-chuck"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Gray Jay has many informal names, including "Whiskey-Jack," and "meat-bird.”
  • They are trusting and easily tamed.
  • They coat mouthfuls of food with saliva and store them in tree bark and other crevices for later use.
  • A group of jays has many collective nouns, including a "band", "cast", "party", and "scold" of jays.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Gray Jay

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X