California Scrub-Jay

ID Info
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California Scrub-Jay

Aphelocoma californica
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Corvidae
Basic Description

The “blue jay” of dry lowlands along the Pacific seaboard, the California Scrub-Jay combines deep azure blue, clean white underparts, and soft gray-brown. It looks very similar to the Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay (they were considered the same species until 2016), but is brighter and more contrasting, with a bold blue breast band. The rounded, crestless head immediately sets it apart from Steller’s Jays. These birds are a fixture of dry shrublands, oak woodlands, and backyards from Washington state south to Baja California.

More ID Info
image of range map for California Scrub-JayRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Look for this bird in oak woodlands, suburbs, parks, and along roadsides at low elevations, or flying overhead on rounded, fluttering wings. Listen for the raspy scolds and weep calls these birds use to communicate.

Other Names
  • Chara Californiana (Spanish)
  • Geai buissonnier (French)

Backyard Tips

California Scrub-Jays are fond of sunflower seeds and peanuts at feeders. If you have dense shrubs or small trees in your yard, a pair might build a nest. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

  • Cool Facts