Key facts

Scientific name: Garrulus glandarius

Status: Resident breeding species

Breeding pairs: 170,000

Conservation status: Green

Length: 35 cm

Wingspan: 52 – 58 cm

Weight: 140 – 190 g


Jays are pinkish-brown with paler underparts. They have a black and white flecked crown, black moustache and white throat.

Jays’ wings are mostly black and white with striking blue patches. The bill is black and the legs are pink-brown.


Jays build their nests in trees or shrubs. They make the nest from twigs using hairs and other fibres to line it.

Breeding starts in late April and they lay a clutch of 3-10 eggs that are smooth and glossy and pale blue-green with buff-coloured speckles. Incubation is 16-17 days and fledglings will leave the nest after 19-20 days.


Jays will eat acorns, beech mast, seeds berries and insects. They will also eat small rodents, bats and baby birds and eggs.

Jays are known for hoarding food by burying it in the ground and will remember where hundreds have stashes have been hidden.


Where to see them

Jays are found all over the UK except in northern Scotland. They live in woodlands, parks and mature gardens all year round but are most obvious in the autumn when they fly out into the open in search of acorns.


Fernand Deroussen/xeno-canto

Did you know?

Several species of oak tree are dependent on the presence of jays to distribute their acorns.

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