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Eurasian Jay

Garrulus glandarius (Linnaeus, 1758)

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Eastern Kazakstan, Ust-Kamenogorsk. Komsomolskii ostrov
© Vladimir Shefer


The Eurasian Jay is Pigeon-sized bird, but less it on weight. The adult male and female have the whitish or rusty crown with black strips on the feathers of crest. The broad black moustachial strips extend from the bill onto throat-sides. The breast, belly and flanks are grey-brown with purple or rusty tinge. the great wing covers are bright-blue black barred. The primaries are dark-brown with whitish edges, secondaries are velvet-black with white patch. The upper and undertail are white. Tail is velvet-black; the bases of tail feathers have grey-blue strips. The bill is black, legs are dark-brown, eyes are whitish with blue or brownish tone. Juveniles distinguish from adults by the rusty tinge on belly and mantle and by the faintness of the dark streaks on the crest feathers. The living in Kazakhstan subspecies brandtii is slightly less the nominee race and has the grey expressive rusty tinged belly and back; and rusty-red head with black strips. Weight 120-147 grams, length 320-370, wing 168-181, tail 141-154, wingspan 520-600 mm.


In Kazakhstan the Eurasian Jay breeds in Semipalatinsk Trans-Irtysh area, Kalbinskiy Altai and in Western and Southern Altai. Post breeding movement recorded in Irtysh valley, in Altai foothills and also in lower Ural valley, where single birds recorded 6 and 8 October 1956, 29 September 1958. Wandering birds recorded in Naurzum Reserve (in autumn 1974 and 1993), in Kurgaldzhino Reserve (December 18 1977) and in foothills of Western Tien Shan (on Chokpak Pass, September 10 1968).


The Eurasian Jay is rare resident. It inhabits spruce, fir and mixed forest at the altitudes of up to 1500 m; deciduous forest is also visited by wandering birds. It breeds in separate pairs, far from one another. Nest building starts when snow coming off or later. The place for a nest is chosen in a tree (spruce, fir, pine) 2-6 m off ground. Both partners build the nest of twigs and line with rootlets and dry grass. Clutches of 5-8 eggs are probably laid in May. Both parents incubate for 17-18 days and both feed juveniles, who fledge at about 20 days. Broods in Altai recorded mid to end of July. In summer time both juveniles and parents feed on insects and other invertebrates, occasionally rodents; ravage nests and steal nestings and catch fledglings. The plant food includes berries and seeds (both wild and crops collected at fields and roads. In autumn jays make stocks hiding small portions of food in leaf litter, under bushes and in other secluded places to use in winter. In winter they also eat carrion. Some time after the young become fully fledged the brood keeps not far from the nest, but to the end of July they disperse and migrate one by one or in groups. July. In autumn jays appear in plains from the end of September to October. Quite often the autumn movements take form of real autumn migrations. One bird was observed on September 10, 1968 At Chokpak Pass. In Kurgaldzhino Reserve, one bird was recorded in reed beds on December 18, 1977. In September to October the long passages are over. The jays live settled or move to better feeding places.


Garrulus glandarius brandtii (Eversmann, 1842)

    Description. Slightly less the nominee race and has the grey expressive rusty tinged belly and back; and rusty-red head with black strips.

Garrulus glandarius sewerzowii (Bogdanov, 1871)

    Distribution. Observed in wintering in Ural river valley, Western Kazakhstan.


Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999. В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург, Изд-во Уральского университета, 2000.



Garrulus glandarius brandtii
(Eversmann, 1842)
Garrulus glandarius sewerzowii
(Bogdanov, 1871)

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