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Jay Bird

Jay, Identification, Habitat and Food

By

20th August 2013


Identification

Length: 34cm.

The Jay’s plumage colouration is variable, but with it’s white rump, blue and white wing patches combined with large size make it easily identifiable. The under-tail coverts and bellies of the adult are white, the rest of the body and part of the wing coverts are brownish. The primaries are brown-black spotted bluish, fringed whitish on outer ones. The secondaries are black, the base is partly white with blue markings, innermost ones are chestnut-brown tipped black. Their bill is black and their iris is a bluish-white. The black and white feathers on the head may be erected to form a crest. Flight is slow although markedly undulating. The Jay is often seen hopping on the ground.

Call
Most characteristic call is a harsh ‘skaak’, although there are many variations. Has no true song but may emit, sometimes collectively, crooning notes interspersed with other harsher sounds.

Reproduction
Breeding starts from late April. the nest is built by both sexes and is usually situated over two meters off the ground, usually in the fork of a tree or against the trunk. It is a cup made of twigs and stems with a little mud mixed in. The nest is lined with grasses and hair.
Generally five or seven eggs, rarely three to ten, are laid. They are pale bluish or greenish, very finely speckled with olive-green or buff. Speckling may be concentrated at the larger end. Both parents incubate for about sixteen days. Both tend the young, which leave the nest after nineteen or twenty days.

Habitat
Jay’s like woods and areas with scattered trees, such as orchards, parks and large gardens.

Natural Food
The Jay eats mainly vegetable matter, such as berries and nuts. They also like molluscs, insects, small mammals and young birds. In the autumn Jays feed extensively on acorns burying the surplus in soil, for later consumption.

Where to Feed
Feeders – Not suitable
Table – Open topped
Ground – Scatter food in the open