Gray Jay

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Gray Jay
 Photo: Jay
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Passeriformes
Family:Corvidae
Genus:Perisoreus
Species:P. canadensis
Binomial name
Perisoreus canadensis
(Linnaeus,, 1766)

The Gray Jay Perisoreus canadensis, is a medium-sized jay.

Adults are gray on the upperparts, with a white forehead, face and throat. They have a dark cap and a short thick dark bill. They are slightly smaller than a Blue Jay.

Missing image
Perisoreus_canadensis_map.jpg
Distribution map

Their breeding habitat is forested areas containing conifers across Canada, Alaska and coastal and montane parts of the western United States. They usually nest low in a dense conifer. The female lays 3 or 4 eggs. The female incubates the eggs and stays with the young birds at first while the male brings food to the nest. Later, both parents feed the young.

They are permanent residents; some may move from higher elevations in winter. A pair will defend their territory year round. These birds mate for life.

These birds are opportunistic; they will capture live prey and also scavenge carrion. They are bold about approaching people and will steal food from any campsite left unguarded. They sometimes catch insects in flight. They are omnivorous, eating insects, berries, seeds, small rodents and bird eggs. They cache food throughout their territory in preparation for winter, using their sticky saliva to "glue" items to crevices in tree bark and other storage locations.

Their call is a soft whistle. They produce a wide variety of noises, including harsh cries and chuckle-like sounds.

This bird is also known as the Camp Robber and the Whiskey Jack, in various spellings; the latter name originates from the Cree word wiiskachaan. At one time, it was known as the Canada Jay.

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