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Conservation status: Green

Although they are the most colourful members of the crow family, jays are actually quite difficult to see. They are shy woodland birds, rarely moving far from cover. The screaming call usually lets you know a jay is about and it is usually given when a bird is on the move, so watch for a bird flying between the trees with its distinctive flash of white on the rump. Jays are famous for their acorn feeding habits and in the autumn you may see them burying acorns for retrieving later in the winter.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Garrulus glandarius

Family

Crows (Corvidae)

Where to see them

Found across most of the UK, except northern Scotland. Lives in both deciduous and coniferous woodland, parks and mature gardens. Likes oak trees in autumn when there are plenty of acorns. Often seen flying across a woodland glade giving its screeching call, it becomes more obvious in autumn when it may fly some distance in the open in search of acorns.

When to see them

All year round, but often more obvious in autumn when they travel most in search of acorns, beech mast and hazelnuts to bury.

What they eat

Mainly acorns, nuts, seeds and insects, but also eats nestlings of other birds and small mammals.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-170,000 territories--

Distribution

Key

Audio

Niels Krabbe, Xeno-canto