The Western Scrub Jay is a medium-sized bird, approximately 27-31 cm (11-12 in) in length (including its tail), with a 39 cm (15 in) wingspan, and about 80 g (2.8 oz) in weight. Coastal Pacific birds tend to be brighter in coloration than those of the interior, but all are patterned in blue, white and gray, though none as uniform in color as the related Mexican Jay. In general, this species has a blue head, wings, and tail, a gray-brown back, and grayish underparts. The throat is whitish with a blue necklace.

Habitat and Distribution

The california scrub say is native to western North America. It habitat is areas of low scrub ranging from southern Washington to central Texas and central Mexico. It is is nonmigratory and can be found in urban areas, where it can become tame and will come to bird feeders.


Western Scrub Jays usually forage in pairs, family groups, or small non-kin groups, outside of the breeding season. They feed on small animals, such as frogs and lizards, eggs and young of other birds, insects, and (particularly in winter) grains, nuts, and berries. They can be aggressive towards other birds, for example, they have been known to steal hoarded acorns from Acorn Woodpecker granary trees. They will also eat fruit and vegetables growing in backyards.


Nests are built low in trees or bushes, 1-10 m (3.3-32.8 ft) above the ground, primarily by the female, while the male guards her efforts. The nests are sturdy, with an outside diameter of 33-58 cm (13-23 in), constructed on a platform of twigs with moss and dry grasses lined with fine roots and hair. Four to six eggs are laid from March through July, with some regional variations.

Calls and Songs

The call is described as harsh and scratchy.