Living Bird Magazine
Florida Scrub-JayAphelocoma coerulescens
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Corvidae
A bold and curious bird, the Florida Scrub-Jay can become hand-tame in areas where it comes in contact with people. Unfortunately, it is restricted to the rare oak scrub community of Florida, a habitat under constant threat of development, and is classified as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act.More ID Info
- Chara Floridana (Spanish)
- Geai à gorge blanche (French)
- Cool Facts
- The Florida Scrub-Jay is a well-studied cooperative breeder, with most offspring staying with their parents to help them raise young for at least one year.
- The Florida Scrub-Jay used to be considered part of one species, the Scrub Jay, together with the California, Woodhouse's, and Island Scrub-Jays. Genetic evidence showed that the Florida birds were genetically quite different from the western jays.
- Individual members of a Florida Scrub-Jay family take turns watching for hawks while the rest of the family looks for food. If a dangerous hawk is seen, the sentinel gives an alarm call and everyone dives for cover. A different call alerts the family to snakes and other dangers on the ground, and the entire family will join in mobbing a terrestrial predator.
- When not persecuted, and especially when provided with food, the Florida Scrub-Jay becomes very tame. It will readily perch on a person's hand, arm, or head to get food.
- Because of its highly restricted choice of habitat and low dispersal ability, populations of the Florida Scrub-Jay have become very isolated. Jays from the Atlantic Coast, central Florida, and southwestern Florida differ in some of their vocalizations, despite being separated by less than 100 miles.
- The oldest recorded Florida Scrub-Jay was at least 15 years old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Florida in 1990. It had been banded in the same state in 1975.