Birds : Binsar

Eurasian jay

The Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius) is a species of bird occurring over a vast region from Western Europe and north-west Africa to the Indian Subcontinent and further to the eastern seaboard of Asia and down into south-east Asia. Across its vast range, several very distinct racial forms have evolved to look very different from each other, especially when forms at the extremes of its range are compared. The bird is called jay, without any epithets, by English speakers in Great Britain and Ireland. It is the original ‘jay’ after which all others are named.

A member of the widespread jay group, and about the size of the jackdaw, it inhabits mixed woodland, particularly with oaks, and is an habitual acorn hoarder. In recent years, the bird has begun to migrate into urban areas, possibly as a result of continued erosion of its woodland habitat. It’s usual call is the alarm call which is a harsh, rasping screech and is used upon sighting various predatory animals. But the jay is well known for its mimicry, often sounding so like a different species that it is virtually impossible to distinguish its true identity unless the jay is seen. It will even imitate the sound of the bird it is attacking, such as a tawny owl, which it does mercilessly, if attacking during the day. However, the jay is a potential prey item for owls at night and other birds of prey such as goshawks and peregrines during the day.

Feeding in both trees and on the ground, it takes a wide range of invertebrates including many pest insects, acorns (oak seeds, which it buries for use during winter), beech mast and other seeds, fruits such as blackberries and rowan berries, young birds and eggs, bats, and small rodents. It nests in trees or large shrubs laying usually 4–6 eggs that hatch after 16–19 days and are fledged generally after 21–23 days. Both sexes typically feed the young. (Source: Wikipedia)

Click here to listen to Eurasian jay call

Black-headed Jay

Black-headed Jay (Garrulus lanceolatus)

The black-headed jay or lanceolated jay (Garrulus lanceolatus) is roughly the same size as its close relative the Eurasian jay, but a little more slender overall except for the bill which is slightly shorter and thicker. The top of the head is black and it has a more obvious crest too and a longer tail.

It ranges from eastern Afghanistan eastwards, across the Himalayas, from India to Nepal and Bhutan. It occurs in wooded country with large areas of open ground rather than dense forest. It also occurs in some cultivated areas and even near villages as long as there are enough trees and scrubland nearby. It feeds both on the ground and in trees and takes virtually the same wide range of plant and animal foods as its close relative, including eggs and nestlings, as well as scraps near human habitation.

It nests in trees and suitable bushes and in this resembles the Eurasian jay in every respect. There are usually 3–5 eggs incubated over 16 days. Both parents feed the young. The voice is very similar to its close relative too and is most often a loud screech but with longer pauses between. (Source: Wikipedia)

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