Clark's Nutcracker

Nucifraga columbiana




Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Green or olive with brown, olive or gray marks

Number of Eggs:

2 - 6

Incubation Days:

16 - 18

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

8 - 50 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Small sticks and pieces of bark., Lined with pine needles, leaves, and grass.





Clark's Nutcracker: Medium-sized, noisy and inquisitive jay with pale gray head and body. Bill is long and stout. Wings are black with white patches and tail is black with white edges. Sexes are similar.

Range and Habitat

Clark's Nutcracker: Resident from central British Columbia and western Alberta to southern California and New Mexico. Also recorded locally in northeastern Mexico. In winter, may wander as far east as Saskatchewan south to Texas. Prefers stands of junipers and ponderosa pines on high mountain ranges near the tree line.

Breeding and Nesting

Clark's Nutcracker: Two to six pale green or olive eggs, marked with brown, olive or gray, are laid in a deep bowl nest made of sticks built in a conifer. Nest is well insulated, with outer part built from rotten wood pulp and inner bowl lined with finer material. Incubation ranges from 16 to 18 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Clark's Nutcracker: Feeds mostly on conifer seeds; also take flying insects, ants, small vertebrates, bird eggs and nestlings, and occasionally carrion. Uses its sturdy, pointed bill to pry seeds out of green cones, or to hammer and crush seeds out of shells.

Readily Eats

Suet, Nuts, Sunflower


Clark's Nutcracker: Emits a very nasal, rasping, and dragged-out "caw" or "kra-a-a."

Similar Species

Clark's Nutcracker: Canada Jay is slimmer, lacks white on wings, and has gray tail.

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