Steller's Jay Identification

The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    Steller’s Jays are large songbirds with large heads, chunky bodies, rounded wings, and a long, full tail. The bill is long, straight, and powerful, with a slight hook. Steller’s Jays have a prominent triangular crest that often stands nearly straight up from their head.

    Relative Size

    About the same size as a Western Scrub-Jay

    Relative Sizebetween robin and crowbetween robin and crow
    Measurements
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 11.8-13.4 in (30-34 cm)
      • Weight: 3.5-4.9 oz (100-140 g)
      • Wingspan: 17.3 in (44 cm)

Regional Differences

Scientists have described 16 subspecies of the Steller’s Jay in North and Central America, showing varying combinations of black and blue on the crest, head, and body. The Queen Charlotte Islands off British Columbia are home to the largest and darkest race. In mainland North America, you can notice differences between darker Pacific forms, with blue streaks over the eye, and lighter Rocky Mountain forms with white streaks and a partial white eyering.