• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer

Florida Scrub-Jay


IUCN Conservation Status: Vulnerable

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.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
9.1–11 in
23–28 cm
13–14.2 in
33–36 cm
2.3–3.2 oz
66–92 g
Other Names
  • Geai à gorge blanche (French)
  • Urraca azuleja de Florida (Spanish)

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 Western 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.



Restricted to Florida oak scrub and scrubby flatwoods found on prehistoric and current sand dunes. Found in scrub with patches of open sand and an open tree canopy. Disappears without periodic burning of habitat.



Arthropods, acorns, and small vertebrates.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–6 eggs
Egg Description
Greenish with brownish spots concentrated near large end.
Condition at Hatching
Naked and helpless.
Nest Description

Nest an open cup of twigs, lined with thick lining of palmetto fibers or rootlets. Nest placed in low dense shrub.

Nest Placement



Ground Forager

Gleans insects from trees, shrubs, and ground. Harvests and hides (caches) thousands of acorns and other nuts. Holds food under feet to peck at it.


status via IUCN


Florida Scrub-Jay is a declining species. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 10,000 with 100% living in the U.S. The species rates a 20 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Florida Scrub-Jay is on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List, which includes bird species that are most at risk of extinction without significant conservation actions to reverse declines and reduce threats. The species is also a Tri-National Concern Species, and a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species. It is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, and is federally listed as threatened in the U.S. Declines are due to severe habitat restriction in rare habitat caused by land development. Fire suppression makes habitat unsuitable.




Or Browse Bird Guide by Family, Name or Shape
bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. You can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell or give your email address to others.