A Blue Jay is a passerine bird that belongs to the Corvidae family and is found in eastern North America. Some stay in the same state among blue jays throughout the year, while other migratory blue jays travel from one state to another or across countries.
This large-sized songbird is mainly found in multiple shades of blue, with a white chest and a prominent blue crest, and a black throat. Their tails are rounded yet large.
They are primarily found in parks, forests, cities, and towns, and they love to eat different types of seeds such as sunflower and often travel in flocks to visit feeders. These noisy birds are famous for their strong family ties and their intelligence.
The birds that look like Blue Jay are Bluebirds, California scrub-jays, Steller’s Jays, Canada jays, Green Jays, and Florida Jays. However, people often mistake them as Blue Jays because of their shared physical traits, diet, behavior, and habitat.
Blue Jays lower their crests when they give food to their young ones who cannot fly and fetch food themselves.
Blue Jays are often recognized by their rowdy calls. If you notice birds migrating near the shorelines in large flocks, you can distinguish Blue Jays from their rounded and large tail, a prominent crest, and steady flight.
They have a straight, tough beak and a crest which they can move upwards or downwards. What makes them unique is that the color shades in their wings can either shine or appear dull, based on the angle of light.
A fact about blue jays, which can also help you identify one, is that they are famous for eating eggs of other birds.
Bluebirds are also passerine birds, but they belong to the thrust family. They are primarily found in eastern North America in states such as Canada and Mexico. People believe that bluebirds are eye-pleasing because of their colors.
They sing a specific song which can be heard as “chur-lee, chur-lee”, a method that can be used to distinguish them from blue jays and other birds.
The probability is high that you just saw a bluebird fly and mistook it for a blue jay and are now waiting for something good to happen since blue jays are known to bring luck. This post is what would help you comprehend whether it was a bluebird or a blue Jay.
People usually misinterpret Bluebirds as Blue Jays and the other way round because of their blue wings. However, they have a lot of differences which can help us differentiate easily between them. Those differences are in regards to their size, diet, and habitat.
A Bluebird has a red-brown chest, whereas; the Blue Jays have a white or a grey chest. Bluebirds are tiny in size; their size range is between 6.5 and 8.5 inches compared to the Blue Jays, which are large-sized birds with a length of 10-12 inches.
A Blue Jays’ crest is very prominent and bright, which can also assist you in distinguishing it from a Bluebird.
The Eastern Bluebirds are found in countries including the United States, Canada, and Honduras, while the Western Bluebirds can majorly be spotted in Mexico, Canada, and United States.
However, the mountain Bluebirds can vastly be spotted from Alaska to Mexico. They prefer to live in agricultural areas, whereas the western Bluebirds like to stay around trees and the open regions.
On the contrary, you can easily find Blue Jays in all of the states of North America - especially in forest areas. They like to stay around oak trees and bird feeders.
When it comes to their diet, bluebirds love eating insects and have a soft spot for fruits such as raspberries and blueberries, and are often seen preying on spiders, beetles, and caterpillars.
On the other hand, Blue Jays are known for stealing food from other birds, including nuts, seeds, and sometimes, other birds’ eggs and nestlings. They also eat insects such as grasshoppers and beetles.
One more difference between them is the number of times they mate during the year. The Bluebirds, sometimes, mate more than once per year, while the Blue Jays mate only once a year. However, both of them, on average, give two to seven eggs in a brood.
The Blue Jays imitate the calls of hawks, especially the Red-shouldered Hawk.
Steller’s jays’ origin is from western North America, and they have a close connection to Blue Jays. People often confuse these two types of birds because of several similarities between them, mostly related to their diet, size, and name.
However, as you read further, you will understand the significant differences between these two types of birds, which would make it easier for you to distinguish between them.
People often mistake Blue Jays as Steller’s Jays and the other way round because of the similarities in their diet. These birds are omnivorous and enjoy eating berries, birds’ eggs, insects, seeds, and nuts. Blue Jays have a sound like bells, while Steller’s are louder.
Both of these birds have crests and are between 11-13 inches in length. Steller’s color can help you quickly identify them as they are primarily black from above, with dark blue plumage. In comparison, the Blue Jays have a grey breast and white spots on the wings and tail.
Steller’s wings are blue, so if you are confused between these two birds, an easy way to identify them would be to find any white spotting on the feathers. Just like Blue Jays, Steller’s also eat the eggs of other birds.
California Scrub-Jays are crestless birds found in western North America. They are closely related to Blue Jays, and because of their name, people can often mistake them as Blue Jays.
They like to stay around the parks and woodland areas near coastal California, but at the same time, they also live inland. However, on the contrary, as we discussed earlier, Blue Jays prefer living near the trees, mostly in forests.
Western scrub-jays have long tails just like Blue Jays, which further adds to their similarities.
However, unlike Blue Jays, scrub jays have smaller bills, they do not have a crest, and they do not migrate, which would now make it easier for you to differentiate between a Blue Jay and a California scrub-jay.
Blue Jays are blue above and white from underneath with a black shade under the neck, alongside black plumage and tail. However, the western scrub-jays are mostly blue except that their back is brown and are grey from underneath. Both of them have a white throat.
In Florida, at feeders, the Florida Scrub-Jays dominate the Blue Jays with a lot of strength to stop them from having food.
Blue Jays are fond of eating roasted and unsalted nuts. Hence, the best way to quickly have these birds in your yard is to keep these nuts around. You can also consider keeping peanuts, seeds, corn, and grains as a part of their diet.
Apart from that, they also enjoy eating fruits such as berries and sunflower seeds. They also prefer staying around Oaktrees, so planting some of them can increase the chances of Blue Jays visiting your backyard.
Avoid keeping nuts or any other food that is too spicy for them to consume as it can have adverse effects.
Blue Jays store their food like nuts and seeds underneath the leaf litter. So it is possible that if you have leaf litter in your yard, they would bury their food under it and then revisit your yard to eat it.
There is a specific feeder for Blue Jays that you can use to lure them into your backyards; it’s mostly a tray or a platform feeder. Refrain from attaching hanging feeders in your yard that move, as these birds will not be able to balance themselves without any support.
You can buy ground feeders and fill them with peanuts, sunflower seeds, corns, and other grains as an alternative. Apart from this, you can also purchase suet feeders to attract these songbirds to your yard.
You can explore the Squirrel Buster Suet Squirrel-proof Suet Bird Feeder to attract blue jays to your backyard.
Buy feeders according to the weight and size of Blue Jays. Their weight varies from 2.5 to 3.5 ounces, and their size is 9 to 12 inches in length.
Unlike other birds, Blue Jays construct more than one nest because if an intruder invades their privacy and sense a threat in the environment, they instantly shift to the next nest.
They don’t build their nests in birdhouses; instead, they stay in trees where they peacefully and safely nest.
If you live in woodland or you have big, old trees in your yard, then it is very likely for Blue Jays to visit and comfortably nest. If you don’t already have such trees, you can plant new trees or bushes to attract them towards your yard.
Supply blue jays with nesting materials such as twigs and sticks to make nesting convenient for them. Since these birds are large, they would be more comfortable nesting in an area that is at least 8 inches square and is open from above.
Where you place, the feeder decides the likelihood of Blue Jays staying in the nests because even if they visit your yard, if they don’t end up finding a comfortable place to sit in, they would probably leave.
Henceforth, the perfect place to put the feeder is anywhere close to the shrubbery or a tree where they can sit and relax while eating from the feeder.
Avoid hanging around the birds when they are eating or are about to eat, as they like to eat alone when no human is around since they sense fear in the environment.
In conclusion, we often misinterpret other similar-looking birds like Blue Jays due to the similarities in size, color, or diet. Still, only a few essential things can help us distinguish a Blue Jay from other birds.
The birds that look like blue jays include Bluebirds, California Scrub-Jay, Steller’s Jay, Green Jay, Florida Jay, and the Canada Jay. These are the couple of birds that highly resemble blue jays and might leave you feeling confused the next time you see a blue color bird fly by.
In reality, there are several differences among them, which can help you distinguish Blue Jays from other birds that look like them.
If you’re curious to know about other birds such as Cardinal and the birds that resemble them, read my post.
My name is Inigo and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!
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