This is a widespread and variable species found over much of Europe and Northern Asia. It is an alert pale eyed woodland crow with a mainly pink body and head. The bend of the wing shows a lovely flash of electric blue and black barring and there is white and rich chestnut in the mainly dark wing.
In flight it has rounded wings and a bounding action - and shows a white rump and white wing patches. The bill is dark and there is dark spotting on the pale forehead and crown and a broad black moustachial streak. On the ground it hops and bounds about the place making harsh cries - obviously a bit of a bully boy. But also not quite sure of itself and generally likes to have a good way to beat a quick retreat.
In most areas they are sedentary, making good use of tree seeds - acorns, beech mast and berries. Jays cache food for the winter and are crucial planters of acorns uphill - how else would oaks spread up hill? In the summer takes nestlings of smaller species to feed its own young. There are about 170,000 pairs in Brtain and Ireland.
An Old World woodland crow - mainly pink.
The following Bird On! picture is available:
Jay (Watercolour by Robert Gillmor)
Length 345 mm Closed wing 180 mm Weight 160 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead