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Clark's Nutcracker Nucifraga columbiana


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Clark's Nutcracker
credit: NA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Corvidae, Crows, Magpies, Jays view all from this family

Description ADULT Has soft-looking pale purplish gray body plumage, palest around eye and on face, and on undertail coverts. Wings are mainly black except for white inner flight feathers (seen as white patch on closed wing) and tail has black central and white outer feathers (appears mostly white from below, in flight). Bill and legs are dark. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but a shade paler overall.

Dimensions Length: 12-13" (30-33 cm)

Habitat Widespread and common resident of mountain conifer forests.

Observation Tips Easy to see if you camp or picnic in suitable areas of pine forest; often the birds will find you.

Range Texas, Northwest, Southwest, Plains, California, Rocky Mountains, Western Canada

Voice Utters a range of harsh, rasping calls including shrerrshrerrr and craa-craa-craa.

Discussion Distinctive and subtly attractive corvid, with a relatively short tail, but long wings. Bill is slender and pointed. Main diet is pine seeds, which are stored and eaten throughout winter. Mostly rather unobtrusive, but individuals resident near campsites and picnic grounds within species' range are often bold and inquisitive, and opportunistic feeders. Sexes are similar.