Genus Cyanocitta (Blue and Steller's Jays) Identification Guide

There are 2 species in the genus Cyanocitta, the Blue Jay (C. cristata) and the Steller's Jay (C. stelleri). Both species occur only in North America, with the Blue Jay being found East of the rocky mountains, and the Steller's Jay being found West of them. This guide will go over how to identify adults of both species, as well as each species' habitat, vocalizations, and range.

The Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is about 9-12 inches (about 23-30 centimeters) long, with a wingspan of about 13-17 inches (about 33-43 centimeters). This species has pale underparts and blue upperparts. Blue Jays also have a black "necklace", white face, black barring on the wings and tail, a blue crest (not always raised), and a bold white wing bar. The beak and legs are dark. This species can be found in forests, as well as urban and suburban areas. Common at feeders. Range map: Sightings:, Vocalizations: Blue Jays also sometimes mimic hawks.

The Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) is 12-13 inches (about 30-33 centimeters) long, with a wingspan of 17 inches (about 43 inches). This species is variable, but is usually darkly colored on the nape, breast, and head. The wings, tail, back, belly, and flanks are blue. "Interior" form birds have a white "eyebrow" and white streaks on the crest. The "Coastal" form, found along the Pacific coast, has no white "eyebrow" and blue streaks on the crest. Some birds in southern Mexico and Central America are more blue, with shorter, blue crests. Found in forests at elevations of 3,000-10,000 feet (lower in Pacific coast). Range: Sightings:, Vocalizations:

Posted on December 30, 2022 02:41 AM by salmonadder salmonadder


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