Island Scrub-Jay: Medium-sized, crestless jay with gray-brown back and blue wings. Upper breast, throat, and chin are white with streaks. Head is blue with gray mask and narrow white eyebrow. Tail and undertail coverts are blue. Forages on ground. Flies with steady bouyant wing beats.
Range and Habitat
Island Scrub-Jay: Restricted to Santa Cruz Island, about 20 miles off the coast of California.
The Island Scrub-Jay has been split from the Western Scrub-Jay because of its brighter plumage and different genetic makeup.
It is not known to have occurred anywhere else historically, and no fossil remains have been found on the well-researched neighboring islands.
Until breeding space becomes available, unmated individuals use marginal habitats not suitable for breeding. Nonbreeders do not defend territories, but rather forage and roost in loose groupings or on their own.
A group of jays has many collective nouns, including a "band", "cast", "party", and "scold" of jays.
The Island Scrub-Jay is rated as Near Threatened. At this time there are not any known threats facing the Island Scrub-Jay, but the range of this bird is extremely limited. The Island Scrub-Jay is native to the United States, specifically to Santa Cruz Island, which is part of the California Channel Islands. This limited range has led to the Near Threatened status. The population of the Island Scrub-Jay is estimated at around 12,500 individual birds. Only about 7,000 of those birds are considered to be breeders. Conservation efforts are underway to protect the Island Scrub-Jay.