Florida Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma coerulescens
Sound (149 KB)
12 inches (30 cm)
• Common to Uncommon
• White forehead
• Blue head, wings and tail
• Whitish throat and blue-gray breast band
• Black sturdy bill
• Grayish supercilium and dark eyeline
• Blue head, rump, wings and tail
• Gray-brown back
• Grayish white throat with diffuse streaking and dark lower border
• Gray-brown underparts
• Dark legs
• Range restricted to central Florida
• The only other large, long-tailed, blue bird within the range of the Florida Scrub-Jay is the Blue Jay. The Blue Jay has a crest and white patches in the wings and tail.
Oak scrub with widely scattered pines, especially where low-growing and periodically burned. Usually seen in central Florida and near Atlantic coast. Scrub-Jays were split into three separate species by the AOU in 1995.
NESTING & FEEDING:
BREEDING: Oak scrub with widely scattered pines, especially where low-growing and periodically burned. 1 brood, rarely 2. Mating system is monogamous.
DISPLAYS: Courting male hops around female with his head erect, tail spread and dragging.
NEST: 3 to 30 feet high. Occasionally in small coniferous; supported by platform of twigs, occasionally moss, cup of grass lined with fine rootlets, hair. Both sexes help with nest construction.
EGGS: Typically 3 to 6 pale green eggs marked with reddish browns or greens. 1.1" (28 mm).
CHICK DEVELOPMENT: Female incubates. Incubation takes 15-17 days. Development is altricial (immobile, downless, eyes closed, fed). Young leave the nest after 18-19 days. Both sexes tend young.
DIET: Mostly insects; also other invertebrates and small vertebrates, including bird eggs, nestlings, fledglings. In nonbreeding season, largely acorns, fruit, seeds.
CONSERVATION: Winter resident. On Blue List 1973-86.
NOTES: Long-term pair bond, pair or flock remain year-round on permanent territory; cooperative breeder. Clutch size usually 3 to 4; predation primary cause of nest failure, reduced in pairs with helpers. Male feeds female before and during incubation. Female does most of brooding. Scrub Jay split into three species by AOU in 1996: Western Scrub-Jay, Florida Scrub-Jay and Island Scrub-Jay.