Florida Scrub Jay

Meet the Florida Scrub Jay

Image Meet the Florida Scrub Jay
Zoom
scrub jay1

The Florida Scrub-Jay can easily be confused with the much more common western Blue Jay, which is very similar in size, shape and coloring.  The Florida Scrub-Jay, however, is only found in central Florida.  Bird enthusiasts come here from all over the world hoping to observe this unique species in its native habitat. 

 

Florida Scrub-Jays are song birds from the Corvidae family.  Their cousins are the crow, raven and the blue jay.

Habitat

Image Habitat
Zoom
scrub jay3

Scrub-Jays live in low-growing scrub oak communities that grow on Florida's well drained sandy soils.  Historically, frequent natural fires maintained the vegetation in this low growing state interspersed with bare sand patches that are essential for the foraging and acorn caching behavior of this species.  While the Scrub-Jays are classified as omnivorous, eating almost anything they can catch with insects being the majority of their diet, acorns are by far the most important plant food.

Scrub-Jay Population

Image Scrub-Jay Population
Zoom
scrub jay2

It has been estimated in recent population surveys that there may be as few as 7,000 to 11,000 remaining Florida Scrub-Jays and the species has been categorized as "Threatened" on both the Federal and State Threatened and Endangered Species Lists.  The amount of scrub oak habitat in Florida that the species is dependent upon has been gradually, but dramatically, disappearing due largely to two principal causes, ever increasing demand for new urban development and the common misunderstanding of the important role that frequent natural fires play in the development and maintenance of Florida's unique scrub oak communities that are so crucial to the survival and well being of the Florida Scrub-Jay.

Florida Scrub-Jay Trivia

Image Florida Scrub-Jay Trivia
Zoom
trivia question mark
  • The oldest known wild Florida Scrub-Jay lived to be 15.5 years old.
  • Around age three or four the Florida Scrub-Jay picks a mate and stays with that mate for life.
  • The female lays from 1 to 6 eggs.  The eggs are greenish with brown toned spots mostly near the larger end of the egg.
  • Florida Scrub-Jays make their nests in a cup shape and make a thick lining of palmetto fibers or rootlets. 
  • The nests are placed in low dense scrubs, usually found near patches of sand.