Steller’s Jay

photo by Phil Swanson

Cyanocitta steller
L 11 1/2″ (29 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Harsh “shaack shaack shaack.”

Description: Sexes similar. Head, crest, back, and throat sooty gray; rest of body dark bluish-gray; tight black cross-barring on secondaries and tail; variable lightly streaked eyebrow, chin, and forehead markings. Juveniles are duller, with grayish underparts.

Habitat: Montane coniferous forests or mixed forests and woodlands. Sometimes seen in city edges and feeding stations during the fall and winter.

Where in Nebraska: Very rare vagrant in Nebraska. Most often seen in west, but also seen in Keith, Lincoln, Logan, and Lancaster Counties.

Field Notes: Occasionally hybridizes with Blue Jays where their ranges overlap in the eastern Rockies.

Fun Facts: Complex songs can imitate birds, squirrels, cats, dogs, chickens, and some mechanical objects.

Steller's Jay - photo by Phil Swanson Steller's Jay - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)