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Florida Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma coerulescens


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Florida Scrub-Jay
credit:  Mwanner/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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

Description ADULT Has a pale gray-brown back, but otherwise mostly dark blue upperparts; note, however, the dark cheeks and eyeline and pale forecrown, extending back as faint supercilium. Throat is whitish and streaked, with discrete demarcation from otherwise grubby pinkish gray underparts. JUVENILE Similar, but dull gray on head, back, and wing coverts, with blue flight feathers and tail.

Dimensions Length: 11" (28 cm)

Endangered Status The Florida Scrub-Jay is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as threatened throughout its range in Florida. Like many other Florida wildlife species, the scrub-jay has declined as its habitat has succumbed to development. Remaining habitat has been fragmented and degraded, and existing populations are small and isolated. This makes them vulnerable to any change to their environment, as an entire population can be wiped out at once. In some areas the rate of mortality appears to exceed the rate at which the populations is reproducing. A long-term problem for this species could be rising sea levels caused by global warming, as their remaining habitat could easily become inundated.

Habitat Common and widespread resident of scrubby woodland and overgrown suburban lots. Has declined markedly due to habitat loss and degradation

Observation Tips Easy to see and often indifferent to people.

Range Florida

Voice Utters a harsh, nasal cheerp, cheerp, cheerpÖ and other chattering calls.

Similar Species Western Scrub-jay A. californica (L 11-12 in) is bluer on head but otherwise similar; a mainly western species, resident in Texas.

Discussion Florida endemic with slim body, long tail, and stout, but rather slender bill. An opportunistic feeder with an omnivorous diet that includes berries, fruits, insects, and the eggs and young of songbirds. Usually seen in family groups. Sexes are similar.