Fun California Scrub-jay Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Oct 20, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde
Fascinating California scrub-jay facts about one of the most intelligent and vibrant species of birds.

The California scrub jay is a type of scrub jay native to western North America. It goes from southern British Columbia through California and west Nevada close to Reno, west of Sierra Nevada.

These birds were once lumped with Woodhouse's scrub-jay and were called the western scrub-jay. The gathering was additionally lumped with the island.

The California scrub-jay is nonmigratory and can be found in metropolitan regions, where it can come to bird feeders. In contrast, many allude to scrub jays as blue jays. The blue jay is altogether a different type of bird.

Scrub jays have gray backs, whereas blue jays have blue backs. Blue jays also have a crest on their head that scrub jays do not have.

If you like these facts, do also read our yellow warbler and bald eagle facts.

California Scrub-jay Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a California scrub-jay?

The California scrub-jay (Aphelocoma californica) is a North American bird that is blue in color.

What class of animal does a California scrub-jay belong to?

The California scrub jay belongs to the Aves class of animals.

How many California scrub jays are there in the world?

Accomplices in Flight estimates that the worldwide population for the western Scrub-Jay, i.e., the California scrub-jay (counting California and Woodhouse), is at 2 million, with 75% appearing in the U.S., 24% in Mexico, and under 1% in Canada.

Where does a California scrub jay live?

California scrub jays are found in oak woodlands, scrubs, and rural yards of the Pacific Seaboard from Mexico, southern British Columbia, through Baja California, and Canada.

What is a California scrub jay's habitat?

The western scrub jay's habitat is in the thick, bush-stifled chaparral, oak woodlands, and waterfront sage that lines coastal hillsides, just as in mangrove timberlands at the tip of the Baja California landmass, in Mexico. Although this species is most known for eating acorns a lot, they actually live in pinyon pine forests.

Who do California scrub jays live with?

Unlike the Florida scrub-jay and the Mexican jay, this species breeds in disengaged sets (not in cooperative flocks). California scrub jay pairs ordinarily stay together throughout the year on their lasting region. The blue California scrub jay's nest is usually in a bush or tree, generally low to the ground.

How long does a California scrub jay live?

The life expectancy of wild California scrub jays is around nine years in the wild. The oldest western scrub jay was found in Castaic, CA, in 1991 and was brought up in captivity in a wildlife sanctuary. It lived for 19 years and eight months.

How do they reproduce?

The two individuals in a pair help with the nesting. Either bird in the pair helps in choosing a home site for breeding during the breeding season and starts building the nest in the wildlife, mostly near oak woodlands.

A potential home site is shown to the mate by making an undulating trip to the site while creating boisterous flight vocalizations known as the California scrub jay bird call, regularly while conveying nesting material.

Wheezy vocalizations are delivered upon a way to deal with the site. The California scrub jay's nest is tough, with an external breadth of 13-23 in (33-58 cm), developed on a foundation of twigs with greenery and dry grasses fixed with fine roots and hair.

Four to six eggs are laid by the California scrub jay female in the breeding period from March through July for certain provincial varieties.

There are two normal shell shading varieties for the California scrub jay eggs: light green with sporadic, olive-hued spots or markings; and pale grayish-white to green with rosy brown colored spots. The female hatches the eggs from around 16 days after breeding and incubating.

California scrub jay babies leave their nest and move into the wildlife approximately 18 days after the California scrub jay fledgling is grown. The chicks are completely gray in color.

The more they grow, the bluer they become.

On their heads, chicks will have a red crest that looks like a brush. The chick will lose this crest by day seven, very much like how infant chicks lose their egg teeth at around seven days.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the California scrub jay is of Least Concern according to the IUCN Red List.

California Scrub-jay Fun Facts

What do California scrub jays look like?

This bird species has a blue head, wings, and long tail. It also has a dull brown back, a small bill, grayish underpart,s and white eyebrows. The throat of the California scrub jay is whitish with a blue necklace and beautiful deep eyes and thin legs.

How cute are they?

California scrub jays are quite cute. They are a very colorful species of birds and are good to look at too. These birds stay together in pairs and look cute together.

How do they communicate?

These species of birds communicate with each other by making sounds. The California scrub jay call usually sounds like raspy scolds and weep calls. These calls are used by these birds when they are trying to attract a mate during the breeding season.

How big is a California scrub jay?

The California scrub jay is 11-12 in (27-31 cm) long and 15 in (39 cm) tall.

How fast can a California scrub-jay fly?

The estimated flight speed of a California scrub jay is reported to be 17mph (28 kph). It has quite a range when it flies at full speed.

How much does a California scrub-jay weigh?

The California scrub jay, Aphelocoma California, weighs around 2.8-3.14 oz (80-89 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific male and female names of this species of birds.

What would you call a baby California scrub-jay?

The baby California scrub jay is known as a chick or a hatchling.

What do they eat?

The Californian scrub jay's diet differs with the season. They eat a wide assortment of insects, particularly in summer, as well as arachnids and snails. Moth caterpillars make up a significant portion of the chick's diet.

For the most part, the winter diet might be acorns and different seeds, nuts, and berries. Additionally, they eat rodents, eggs, and babies of different birds and little reptiles. In captivity, they are fed by bird feeders.

Are they aggressive?

California scrub jays may be quite possibly the most despised birds in the Bay Area. This is because they are forceful and aggressive, eat just about anything, including infant birds, and don't coexist with their neighbors. During the mating season, they can be even more regrettable. They are, in fact, excellent and highly intelligent birds.

Would they make a good pet?

This bird species does not make a good pet as they are very aggressive in nature and attack a lot. Since these birds are not good pets, there is possibly nothing that you can do to look after them apart from providing them with food (insects), if possible.

However, if you're looking to care for a scrub jay that is injured, make sure to feed it boiled rice, cherries, bread crumbs, and avocado.

Take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center because wildlife rehabilitation would be the best idea. Domesticating a wild creature would not be possible.

Did you know...

There is known to be a California scrub jay spiritual meaning. Seeing one is known to educate and cultivate in their capacity as a guide, the sight of them in your life proposes the ability to tackle issues with great ease.

This species mostly feeds on oak seeds (acorns) in the spring and likes to build its nest on the same tree. They break off and even steal acorns from acorn trees with their bills and use the seeds to feed their young.

The California scrub jay (Aphelocoma californica) is a non-migratory bird.

Do California scrub jays eat other birds?

Yes, they eat small injured birds and even baby birds when they are hatched. Along with acorns, they also like to eat other small creatures.

What bird does a California scrub-jay look very similar to?

The California scrub jay looks a similar species to the Woodhouse's scrub-jay but is brighter and more contrasting, with a bold blue breast band.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including Tennessee warbler facts and palm warbler facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable California scrub-jay coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde

Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ankit Shinde picture

Ankit ShindeBachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ankit is a Journalism and Mass Media graduate from the University of Mumbai. With experience in SEO, blog and article writing, and fiction writing, he is a versatile writer and content creator. In his free time, Ankit enjoys reading, writing, and listening to music.

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