Garrulus glandarius is a widely dispersed species of the crow family (Corvidae) that covers a large geographical region stretching from Western Europe to the eastern seaboard of Asia. The Latinate genus term, Garrulus, means noisy and chattering; the secondary term, glandarious, means “of acorns”, pertaining to the Jay’s habit of favouring acorns as part of its diet, a food the bird habitually stores over winter, although it does take to other common garden bird foods such as peanuts and seed mixes.
It’s exterior is a blend of pink and brown (a pinkish-brown), with an underbelly slightly paler, but of a similar hue; the wings are primarily black with some white patches and a striking blue-black striped feature, making them quite easy to spot in the garden.
They are resident in the UK all year round apart from northern areas of Scotland and the west coast of Ireland, altogether numbering approximately 170,000 breeding pairs (RSPB). Over winter, due to harsher winters and lower stocks of acorns, Jays do sometimes appear in the UK from northern Europe in “irruptions”, or sudden bursts of large flocks.
Jays nest and breed in large shrubs, laying typically between 4 – 6 eggs that have an incubation period of approximately 16 – 19 days. Both male and female Jays feed the young.