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Western Scrub Jay | by Mark Faviell Photos
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Western Scrub Jay

Seen in Portland Oregon


The Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica[A]), is a species of scrub-jay native to western North America. It ranges from southern Washington to central Texas and central Mexico. It comprises three distinct subspecies groups, all of which may be separate species. They are California Scrub-Jay (coastal), Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay (interior US and northern Mexico), and Sumichrast's Scrub-Jay (interior southern Mexico). The Western Scrub-Jay was once lumped with the Island Scrub-Jay and the Florida Scrub-Jay; the taxon was then called, simply, the Scrub Jay.[2] The Western Scrub-Jay is nonmigratory and can be found in urban areas, where it can become tame and will come to bird feeders. While many refer to scrub-jays as "blue jays", the Blue Jay is a different species of bird entirely. In recent years, the California Scrub-Jay has expanded its range north into the Puget Sound region of Washington.


[edit] DescriptionThe Western Scrub-Jay is a medium-sized bird, approximately 27–31 cm (11.5 in) in length (including its tail), with a 39 cm (15 in) wingspan, and about 80g in weight. Coastal Pacific birds tend to be brighter in coloration than those of the interior, but all are patterned in blue, white and gray, though none as uniform in color as the related Mexican Jay. In general, this species has a blue head, wings, and tail, a gray-brown back, and grayish underparts. The throat is whitish with a blue necklace. The call is described as "harsh and scratchy".


[edit] HabitatTrue to its name, the Western Scrub-Jay inhabits areas of low scrub, preferring pinon-juniper forests, oak woods, edges of mixed evergreen forests and sometimes mesquite bosques. The coastal population also inhabits suburban gardens. Western Scrub-Jays are very common west of the Rocky Mountains, and can be found in scrub-brush, boreal forests, temperate forests, coastal regions, and suburban areas.



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Taken on June 4, 2011