Pinyon Jay

Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus




Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pale blue or green

Number of Eggs:

3 - 5

Incubation Days:

16 - 17

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

3 - 25 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Sticks, bark, grasses, stems, roots, hair, and paper.





Pinyon Jay: Small, crestless, stocky jay with blue-gray body. Head is darker blue and has pale streaks on throat. Tail is short. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is duller.

Range and Habitat

Pinyon Jay: Resident from central Oregon and Montana southward to eastern California, central Arizona, New Mexico, and extreme northwestern Oklahoma. It may occur as a seasonal vagrant from west Texas to North Dakota. Preferred habitats include ponderosa pines, pinyon-junipers, and forests of mixed pine and oaks.

Breeding and Nesting

Pinyon Jay: Three to five pale blue or green eggs are laid in a twiggy cup nest; often nests in loose colonies. Incubation ranges from 16 to 17 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Pinyon Jay: Diet consists of nuts, pine seeds, grass seeds, berries, fruits, insects, and eggs and young of small birds; also boldly approaches human habitations for scraps. Forages in mountain conifers at elevations of 3,000 to 8,000 feet.

Readily Eats

Cracked Corn, Suet, Sunflower Seed


Pinyon Jay: Makes an assortment of calls, including a warning "crauk-crauk" and nasal caw "kaa-eh", with lower second note.

Similar Species

Pinyon Jay: California and Woodhouse's Scrub-Jays and the Mexican Jay have white-gray underparts; Steller's and Blue Jays have crests and black markings on the head.

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