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Merlin Bird ID

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    Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay

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    Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay

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

    The “blue jay” of dry lowlands from Nevada south to Mexico, Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay is a dusty blue bird set off by gray-brown and white. It looks very similar to the California Scrub-Jay (they were considered the same species until 2016), but it's a dimmer blue and dingier gray, with almost no necklace, a straighter bill, and higher-pitched calls. The bird's rounded, crestless head immediately sets it apart from Blue Jays and Steller’s Jays. These birds are a fixture of dry shrublands and woodlands of pinyon pine and juniper.

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

    Find This Bird

    Look for this bird in pinyon pine habitats, as well as in suburbs, parks, and along roadsides at relatively 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 de Woodhouse (Spanish)
    • Geai de Woodhouse (French)

    Backyard Tips

    Woodhouse's 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