The Florida scrub jay is the only species of bird endemic to the state of Florida, in the United States. Bird watchers travel from far and wide to get a glimpse of these cool song birds. They occur only in central Florida and in specific areas along the Atlantic coast of Florida. They prefer to dwell among sand live oak, myrtle oak, sandhill oak, Chapman’s oak, sand pine, Florida rosemary, and a variety of other hardy plants. With less than 10,000 wild individuals remaining, these birds are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN. Their numbers are also decreasing. Their primary threats are climate change, habitat destruction, invasive species, and disease.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Aphelocoma coerulescens
Weight: Up to 2.7 ounces
Length: Up to 12 inches
Wingspan: Up to 14 inches
Lifespan: Up to 15+ years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) These birds live in smaller family groups of a breeding pair and their offspring.
2.) Florida scrub jays are cooperative breeders in that the offspring will tend to stick around, after maturing, and assist in tending to the new offspring.
3.) The scrub jay will use varying calls to warn of aerial or ground threats. If a threat is found, the jays will mob the intruder and attempt to chase it away. The guard bird is called a sentinel.
4.) It has been recorded that, due to habitat fragmentation, each area’s scrub jay populations will have different vocalizations.
5.) Florida scrub jays are cathemeral (active both day and night).
But wait, there’s more on the Florida scrub jay!
6.) These jays are social, but very territorial.
7.) A group of jays is called a cast, party, band, or scold.
Did you know…?
The Florida scrub jay is not migratory and seldom moves very far from where they were hatched.
8.) They will cache thousands of acorns each year, by burying them just beneath the surface of the soil. They will then return for most of them during the colder winter months.
9.) These omnivores (eat plant and animal matter) eat peanuts, acorns, and seeds. They also prey on insects, tree frogs, lizards, turtles, snakes, young mice, fledgling birds, and bird eggs.
10.) Florida scrub jays are monogamous (mate for life).
But wait, there’s still more on the Florida scrub jay!
11.) Their loud, brash shreeps or hiccup-like calls are made primarily by the females and their song is also comprised of trills.
12.) Breeding season lasts from March – June.
Did you know…?
Similar to crows, these jays will sometimes confiscate shiny objects like silverware and jewelry.
13.) Females lay up to 4 eggs that incubate in up to 17 days.
14.) Like other birds, the hatchlings are born altricial (blind and helpless).
15.) After around 2 – 3 years, the younger family members will fly off to form their own family groups.
Now a Short Florida Scrub Jay Video!
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