California Scrub-Jay

Aphelocoma californica




Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Green or gray with brown, red brown or olive spots

Number of Eggs:

2 - 7

Incubation Days:

15 - 17

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

5 - 30 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Twigs, grass, and moss, lined with finer rootlets and animal hair.





California Scrub-Jay: Medium-sized, crestless jay with blue head, wings and tail, gray mask and back, and pale gray underparts. Dark-streaked, white throat is bordered by dark necklace. Bill, legs, feet are black. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is more gray. Eats grains, fruits, insects, frogs, lizards, and eggs and young of other birds. Flies with steady wing beats. Split from Western Scrub-Jay into two species, the California Scrub-Jay and Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay in 2016 by the American Ornithologist Union.

Range and Habitat

California Scrub-Jay: This species is a resident from Washington and Oregon south to California, Texas, and Baja California. Some individuals stray north into southwestern British Columbia. Its preferred habitats include scrub oak, woodlands, and pinon-juniper forests. They also inhabit suburban gardens.

Breeding and Nesting

California Scrub-Jay: Two to seven light gray or green eggs spotted with brown, red brown, or olive, are laid in a twiggy nest well hidden in a tree or dense shrub. Incubation ranges from 15 to 17 days and is carried out by the female. Male feeds female during incubation.

Foraging and Feeding

California Scrub-Jay: Diet consists of insects, grains, small lizards, frogs, fruits, and eggs and young of other birds; forages in trees and on the ground.

Readily Eats

Cracked Corn, Suet, Nuts, Sunflower


California Scrub-Jay: Call is a loud, throaty "jay" or "jree." In flight, a long series of "check-check-check" notes are emitted.

Similar Species

California Scrub-Jay: Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay is duller and grayer. Island Scrub-Jay never comes to the mainland. Pinyon Jay is blue overall and has a shorter tail.


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

Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X