Steller's Jay

Cyanocitta stelleri



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Figure 1. Distribution of the Steller's Jay.

Although generally non-migratory, high-elevation populations typically shift to lower elevations during winter and flocks of mainly young birds occasionally irrupt into habitats and regions not normally occupied.

Figure 2. Crest length and coloration of selected subspecies.

Dark areas on heads indicate black feathers; stippling indicates gray; fine lines indicate blue. After Brown 1963b; drawings by Kate Davis from museum specimens. Used with permission.

Figure 3. Vocalizations of Steller's Jay.

All vocalizations recorded in Alameda and Contra Costa Cos., CA; exemplars from Hope 1980, except as noted. A. Juvenile Gurgle. B. Juvenile Bah. C, D. Juvenile Grate. E. Ut. F. Aap. G. Wek. H. Ow (third exemplar from Brown 1964). I. Wah (first exemplar from Brown 1964). J. Growl. K. Creak. L. Squawk (from Brown 1964). M. Tjar. N. Song. O. Rattle. P. Tee-ar (from Brown 1964). See text for description and social contexts of calls. Sonograms form Hope (1980) produced with Kay Elemetrics Sonograph model 6061B, standard speed, and narrow band filter; sonograms from Brown (1964) produced with Kay Elemetrics Sonograph, high shape filter; and wide band-pass setting.

Figure 4. Aggressive Sidling behavior during interaction between 2 male Steller's Jays

Behavior is characterized by erect crests, predominantly parallel orientation, loud and repeated calling, and frequent digging with bill or bill-rapping. From Brown 1964. Used with permission.

Figure 5. Annual cycle of breeding and molt of Steller's Jay.

Information summarized for subspecies in U.S. and Canada; little information on annual cycle of subspecies in Mexico and Central America. Thick lines show peak activity; thin lines, off-peak.

Figure 6. Timing of Prebasic I molt (upper) and Prebasic II (and later) molts (lower)

Timing of Prebasic I molt (upper) and Prebasic II (and later) molts (lower) for C. s. carlottae in Queen Charlotte Is., British Columbia. Molt score indicates relative advance of overall molt: 0, molt not started; 50, molt completed for juveniles; 70, molt completed for adults. Crosses in upper panel indicate individuals with tail-feathers in last stages of growth. In lower panel, dark dots indicate males; circles, females. From Pitelka 1958. Used with permission.

Figure 7. Relative abundance of Steller's Jay during the breeding season, based on BBS data.

Based on data from the Breeding Bird Survey, 1980-2006. From Sauer et al. 2012, see text for details.

Figure 8. Regional trends in Steller's Jay populations, 1980-2006; data from the Breeding Bird Survey.

Data show best estimates of population change for the species over its range; from Sauer et al. 2012, which provides details.

Recommended Citation

Walker, L. E., P. Pyle, M. A. Patten, E. Greene, W. Davison, and V. R. Muehter (2016). Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.