Pinyon Jay Bird – Profile | Call | Flock | Range | Traits | Facts

Pinyon Jay

Pinyon Jay, scientific name Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus scours pinyon-juniper patches for seeds and customarily aren’t discovered alone. Large teams forage in timber and on the ground. They transfer throughout the panorama in tightly packed flocks flying with fast and powerful wingbeats.

Pinyon Jay profile

The pinyon jay is a jay between the North American blue jay and the Eurasian jay in size. The voice is described as a rhythmic krawk-kraw-krawk repeated two or thrice.

It is the one member of the genus Gymnorhinus. Its general proportions are very nutcracker-like and certainly, this may be seen as convergent evolution as each bird fill comparable ecological niches.

The pinyon jay is a bluish-grey-colored bird with deeper head coloring and whitish throat with black bill, legs, and feet.

Pinyon Jay Overview

They are extremely social, usually forming very massive flocks of 250 or more birds, and several other birds at all times appear to behave as sentries for the flock, watching out for predators whereas their companions are feeding.

The seed of the pinyon pine is the staple meal however they complement their diet with fruits and berries. Insects of many varieties are additionally eaten and generally caught with their feet.

The nest is at all times a part of a colony however there’s by no means more than one nest in a tree. Sometimes the colony can cover fairly in-depth areas with a single nest in every tree (often juniper, stay oak, or pine).

There are often 3–4 eggs laid, fairly early within the season. Incubation is often 16 days. The male bird usually brings meals close to the nest, and the feminine flies to him to obtain them and take them back to the nest to feed the chicks that fledge around Three weeks later.

Young are usually fed solely by their parents, however, as soon as they attain the near-fledging size they will generally obtain a meal from any passing member of the colony, which might proceed for a while after leaving the nest.

The Pinyon Jay is a crestless, blue jay that travels in massive noisy flocks all through pinyon-juniper, chaparral, and scrub-oak woodlands within the western United States.

This strong-flying jay provides a crowlike kaw to communicate with the group. Flocks stick collectively year-round, breeding and foraging collectively.

They scour the panorama for meals, particularly the seeds of pinyon pines, which they eat on the spot or disguise by the tens of hundreds to eat later. Their wonderful spatial reminiscence helps them discover buried seeds.

Pinyon Jay Description

This odd jay, trying more like a small blue-gray crow, lives primarily within the Great Basin area of the west. Appropriately named, it feeds closely on the seeds of pinyon pines, and its distribution is tied carefully to the range of those trees.

Pinyon Jays are sociable in any respect seasons, touring in flocks, nesting in colonies. When on the transfer they fly shut collectively, giving harsh nasal calls.

Pinyon jays kind flocks of 50 to more than 500 and infrequently hundreds of people, that start to forage collectively in late August. Flocking could also be an adaptive strategy to extend search effectivity and cut back predation.

Pinyon jays should travel long distances looking for cones throughout years when virtually no pinyon or ponderosa pine cones are produced in space. Different flocks might criss-cross one another inside space and preserve involved with vocalizations.

pinyon jay pinon jay pinyon jay call pinyon jay bird


Pinyon pines, junipers; range into the sagebrush. Under regular circumstances, seldom discovered removed from pinyon pines in pinyon-juniper woods. On occasions, maybe when the pinyon cone crop fails, flocks are seen elsewhere in streamside groves, oak woods, or different habitats.


The Pinyon Jay is a medium-sized and crestless jay that type of seems like a miniature crow. It has a shorter tail and an extended more daggerlike bill than different jays.


Males and female Pinyon Jaybirds are dusky blue general with a paler usually dingy blue-gray stomach. Note the dusky white throat.


Omnivorous, however particularly pinyon pine seeds. Feeds closely on seeds of pinyon pine; additionally eats seeds of different pines and plenty of different crops, berries, small fruits, nuts, waste grain.

Especially in the summer season, eats many bugs, together with beetles, caterpillars, and grasshoppers, additionally generally eggs and younger of smaller birds. Young are fed principally bugs.

Pinyon Jay Behavior

Pinyon jays are noisy teams, although they might kind massive of more than 250 to 500 members as they’re watching out for predators whereas their companions are feeding seeds.

They spend most of their time looking for seeds to be eaten on the spot, disguise within the ground, or store in tree crevice to eat later. They make the most of pinyon, western juniper, and ponderosa pine timber for cover.

Roosting sites hardly ever happen within the final space that was used for foraging that day. Before roosting, a flock of pinyon jays in northern Arizona flew 1 to three miles (1.6–4.8 km) from the feeding site. Roosting birds clumped collectively in teams of three to five people.

Cached seeds present energy for gonad growth, courtship, nest constructing, egg-laying, and incubation. Pinyon jays travel as much as 7.5 miles (12 km) to cache pinyon and ponderosa pine seeds for later use.

Seed caching is commonest within the fall. Cached Colorado pinyon seeds comprise as much as 90% of the pinyon jay’s diet from November by way of February.

Pinyon Jay Feeding Behavior

Does a lot foraging on the ground, additionally feeds in timber, and infrequently flies out to catch bugs within the air. Almost at all times forages in flocks. Stores many pine seeds in the late summer season and fall, burying caches in-ground, and is ready to discover them and feed on them later.

Pinyon jays are morphologically and behaviorally specialized to take advantage of pinyon seeds for meals. Pinyon seeds are heavy and wingless and never fitted to wind dissemination.

Their dispersal requires birds, animals, and people. The seeds of the Colorado pinyon and singleleaf pinyon are very nutritious. Colorado pinyon seeds include 14% protein, 62% to 71% fats, and 18% carbohydrates.

Singleleaf pinyon seeds include 10% protein, 23% fats, and 54% carbohydrates. Both include the entire amino acids and considerable phosphorus, iron, vitamin A, and different vitamins.

Pinyon cones require Three rising seasons to mature; nevertheless, seeds inside 1-year-old green cones might be eaten by the pinyon jay and are ripe by the end of August. Each cone comprises roughly 20 seeds. Ponderosa pine seeds are additionally vital meals for the pinyon jay.


Pinyon jays kind of massive flocks which can be maintained in quite a lot of kids all through the year.

The breeding season throughout January and February is the one time of the year when the composition of the flock modifications dramatically.

Two flocks are fashioned, 1 with breeding birds and 1 with yearling non-breeding birds.

A third flock might kind at the moment, composed of breeding pairs that have been unsuccessful in their 1st breeding try with a view to attempting a 2nd breeding try.

Despite separation into separate flocks at occasions, a high degree of sociality continues to be maintained.


4-5, generally 3-6. Very pale blue-green to grayish, finely dotted with brown. Incubation is by the feminine, about 16-17 days. Male feeds feminine throughout incubation. Young: Both parents deliver meals for nestlings. Young go away nest about Three weeks after hatching.


Both parents deliver meals for nestlings. Young go away nest about Three weeks after hatching.

Pinyon Jay Nesting

Nesting happens from late February to April. Food availability is a vital issue within the number of nesting grounds. Nest constructing takes place in free colonies and is synchronized amongst pairs within the “courtship party”. During nesting, breeding pairs of birds roost with the primary flock and feed as a unit for 1.5 hours every morning.

Nests in colonies, shut collectively however often no more than 1-Three nests in any one tree. Breeds principally in late winter, the adults feeding largely on saved seeds; might nest once more in late summer season if pinyon pines produce a distinctive seed crop.

In courtship, a number of males might pursue one feminine in flight. Nest site is often 3-20′ above the ground in juniper, oak, or pinyon, generally a lot higher in different types of pine.

Nest (constructed by each sex) has a basis of twigs, an internal cup made from shredded bark, grass, rootlets, pine needles, animal hair. Often steals materials from unattended nests of neighbors.


Pinyon Jay Facts

The Pinyon Jay’s bill is featherless at its base (therefore the name Gymnorhinus means naked nostrils). Nearly all different members of the family Corvidae have feathers overlaying their nostrils.

The Pinyon Jay can probe deep into pitch-laden cones without fouling the feathers that might cover the nostrils of different jays.

Pinyon Jay’s retailer pinyon pine seeds, just like these fatty and high-calorie pine nuts out there at supermarkets, to eat later within the season.

Instead of carrying seeds separately to a caching site, their expandable esophagus lets them carry about 40 seeds in a single go. They refill on seeds and fly with throats bulging to a caching site.

Pinyon Jay’s social organization is advanced, with everlasting flocks that will embrace more than 500 people. Many birds spend their whole lives with the flock the place they hatched.

Although the Pinyon Jay is an everlasting resident all through its range, in years when cone crops fail, people usually go away looking for seeds elsewhere—a mark of an irruptive species.

The oldest recorded Pinyon Jay was a male not less than 14 years, 7 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased throughout banding operations in Arizona in 1985.

Where to search out

Pinyon Jays transfer in regards to the panorama in a nomadic style, which makes discovering them a bit difficult. Head to the top of a hill or different good lookout level and scan the tops of pinyon pines beneath.

They aren’t at all times within the timber although, so you’ll want to search for them foraging on the ground as effectively. They are typically somewhat noisy, so if they’re around you’ll hear their fixed crowlike kaws.


Local numbers might change drastically from year to year, making it troublesome to trace the general inhabitants, however, surveys point out normal declines in the current many years.

Other Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *