Scientific name: Garrulus glandarius

Did you know: Jays, while part of the crow family, are known for their acorn feeding habits and in autumn, they are often seen burying acorns to retrieve later in the winter.

What Do Jays Look Like? (how to identify them)

Jays, the most colourful members of the crow family, are recognisable for their distinctive plumage. 

They exhibit a mix of cream, buff, brown, grey, pink/purple, blue, black, and white feathers. A notable feature is the bright blue panel on their upper wing. Their size is comparable to a blackbird, with a length of 34-35 cm and a wingspan of 52-58cm.

Differences Between Male And Female Jays

Male and female Jays display similar plumage and are challenging to differentiate in the field. However, juveniles can be identified by their darker eyes and slightly less vibrant plumage compared to adults.

What Do Jays Eat?

Jays have a varied diet, primarily consisting of acorns, nuts, seeds, and insects. They are also known to eat nestlings of other birds and small mammals. Their foraging behaviour changes with the seasons, adapting to available food sources.

Where Do Jays Live? (inc. migration info)

Jays are shy woodland birds, preferring habitats with dense cover. They are also found in urban and suburban areas as well as farmlands. In the UK, they are common breeders with around 170,000 territories. Although they are generally resident, their numbers are supplemented in winter by migrants from northern Europe.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Jays)

The Jay’s call is a loud, rasping screech, used as an alarm and to announce their presence. They are also capable of mimicking the calls of other birds and animals, often so accurately that they can be mistaken for the species they are imitating.

Fun Jay Facts (kid friendly)

  • Jays have a unique ability to mimic the calls of other birds and animals.
  • They are known for their bright blue wing patch.
  • Jays are the most colourful members of the crow family in the UK.
  • They use their strong beaks to crack open acorns and nuts.
  • In the autumn, Jays can be seen burying acorns to eat later in winter.
  • They have a loud, rasping call that is often the first sign of their presence.
  • Jays are known to spread oak trees by burying acorns that later grow into new trees.
  • They are intelligent birds and are capable of planning for future needs.
  • Jays are often found in woodland areas, but they also adapt well to urban environments.
  • The lifespan of a Jay is typically around 4 years, but they can live much longer.

Facts About The Jay

Diet: Mainly acorns, nuts, seeds and insects, but also eats nestlings of other birds and small mammals.
Bird Family: Crows
Length: 34-35cm
Wingspan: 52-58cm
Weight: 140-190g
Scientific Name: Garrulus glandarius

The Jay Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December