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Pinyon Jay - Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus

Characteristics
Range
Habitat
Diet
Life Cycle
Behavior
 Classification

 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Passeriformes
 Family: Corvidae
 Genus:  Gymnorhinus 

Pinyon Jay
ICUN Redlist - World Status: VulnerableVulnerable
    Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Andrew Spencer cc logo
  Characteristics
Pinyon JayThe pinyon jay is about 9-11 inches in length, and it has a wingspan of about 18 inches. It has a long, sharply pointed black bill; a short tail; a grayish-blue to blue body and a white chin. It has black eyes, legs and feet. Males and females are similar, but the male has a longer bill and the crown of his head is darker. Unlike most other members of the Corvidae family, the pinyon jay doesn't have feathers at the base of its bill covering its nostrils. This lets it stick its bill deep into pine cones without getting stuff stuck on its feathers.

  Range

mapThe pinyon jay can be found from central Oregon and Montana south to central Arizona, New Mexico and northwestern Oklahoma. Pinyon jays do not migrate.

 

 

  Habitat

The pinyon jay can be found on dry mountain slopes and foothills near pinyon-juniper forests. It may also be found in sagebrush, scrub oak, and chaparral communities and in pine forests.

  Diet
Pinyon JayMost of the pinyon jay's diet is made up of pinyon pine seeds. It opens pine cones with its sharp bill and removes the seeds. It stores the seeds in the fall to eat in the winter and early spring. The pinyon jay has a very good memory and can find the seeds it his even under cover of snow! It also eats some insects, nuts and fruits.
  Life Cycle

The female pinyon jay lays two to five eggs in a cup-shaped nest made of grass, bark and pine needles place on a platform of twigs three to six feet up in a pine, oak or juniper tree. The eggs hatch in about 16 days and the chicks fledge in about three weeks. Both parents care for the young. The pinyon jay nests in colonies.

  Behavior
Pinyon jays live in large flocks that can have as many as 500 birds. A pinyon jay may spend its entire life in the flock it was born into. The pinyon jay population varies depending on the availability of pinyon pine seeds. In years when there aren't many seeds, the jay population drops.

 


 


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