Cyanocitta cristata Linnaeus, 1758, South Carolina. Four subspecies.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Geai bleu; German: Blauhдher; Spanish: Chara azul.
9.36–11.7 in (24–30 cm); 2.27–3.8 oz (65–109 g). Upperparts and jaunty crest are purplish blue. Wings and tail are brighter blue and have prominent black barring; wings also have white spots. Chin, face, throat and underparts are grayish white. Long bill, legs, and feet are black.
Eastern and central North America, with Rocky Mountains forming broad western limit.
Woodland, parks, and suburbs.
Noisy and bold visitor to many backyards. Generally forages alone or in pairs.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Highly opportunistic feeder, supplementing a seed and nut diet with birds, mammals, invertebrates, and human garbage.
Solitary tree nester. Uses mud to hold its twig, root, and feather nest together. Generally lays four to five eggs late March through early June. Incubation 16–18 days; fledging 18–21 days. Frequently double brooded.
Not threatened. Very common, with range expanding northwestward.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Iconic status, with the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, a record label, and a Beatles song all named after this bird.
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