Jay, a bird belonging to the crow family. There are about 45 species of jays in the world, half of which are found in North America. Jays are about 12 inches (30 cm) in length, including their long tails. Some species have prominent crests. The call varies from a loud jay-jay to a musical three-note song. Members of some species mimic the calls of other birds.

JaysJays are known to drive other birds from their nests.

Jays are aggressive and are known to drive other birds from their nests, devouring the eggs and nestlings. Usually, however, they feed on insects, nuts, seeds, and fruit. The female lays three to six greenish eggs with brown spots in a grass-lined nest of sticks.

The most common North American jay is the blue jay of the eastern and midwestern United States. The blue jay has a bright blue crest and back. The wings and tail are barred with black and tipped with white. The throat and breast are white, and there is a black V-shaped marking on the neck.

The blue jayThe blue jay has a bright blue crest and back.

The Steller's jay is found throughout most of western North America and also in Central America. It has a sooty black breast and crest and a bluish-gray black and tail. The gray, or Canada, jay is found in Canada and the northern United States. It is dull gray above and white below with a black band extending from the eye to the nape of the neck. It has no crest. It is often called “camp robber” because of its habit of stealing food from campsites. The scrub, or Florida, jay is found from Washington southeast to Texas and in central Florida. It is dull blue with a drab brown back and a white throat and breast. It has no crest. It is a threatened species due to loss of its habitat.

The Eurasian jay is found in Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. It is light brown with bluish-black wings and a black streak near its bill.

Jays belong to the family Corvidae. The blue jay is Cyanocitta cristata; Steller's, C. stelleri; gray, Perisoreus canadensis; scrub, Aphelocoma coerulescens; Eurasian, Garrulus glandarius.