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Pinyon Jay

Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: CORVIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Pinyon Jay Photo

A highly social bird of the lower mountain slopes of the western United States, the Pinyon Jay is specialized for feeding on pine seeds. Each jay stores thousands of seeds each year, and has such a good memory that it can remember where most of them were hidden.

Appearance

Crows and Jays
Crows and Jays
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Large songbird.
  • Entirely dull blue, except for whitish chin.
  • Relatively short tail.
  • Large, pointed bill.
  • Travels in large flocks.

Immature Description

Juvenile uniformly dull gray. Immature similar to adult, but duller.

Range Map Help

Pinyon Jay Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  •  

    Pinyon Jay

     
    • © Pam Koch/GBBC, Arizona
  •  

    Pinyon Jay

     
    • © Pam Koch/GBBC, Arizona
  • Flock at feeder

    Pinyon Jay

    Flock at feeder
    • © David Smith/PFW, Colorado
  • Juvenile

    Pinyon Jay

    Juvenile
  •  

    Pinyon Jay

     
    • © Jeanette Tasey/GBBC, Montana

Similar Species

Similar Species

Mexican Jay has longer tail, shorter bill, and less blue on chest. Woodhouse's and California scrub-jays are a mix of blue and grays with a white eyestripe.

Backyard Tips

This species often comes to bird feeders. 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.

You Might Also Like

Fire, Drought, Beetles, and Birds, Birdscope, Spring 2004.

Jay and Pine Intertwined, Living Bird, Autumn 2012.

Jays And Crows Act As Ecosystem Engineers, All About Birds, February 4, 2016.

Where Is That Bird Going With That Seed? It’s Caching Food For Later, All About Birds, April 13, 2016.

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