Blue jays can have a reputation for being too aggressive and even violent. But these stories are often exaggerated, and a blue jay is a beautiful sight for any birdwatcher.
If you’re looking for more interesting birds, check out the list below for 21 other birds similar to blue jays.
1. Clark’s Nutcracker
Scientific Name: Nucifraga columbiana
Most corvids have a tendency to gather and store excess food to go back to later during the colder months. Blue jays and Clark’s nutcrackers carry food in a gular pouch in their throat until they find a good spot.
Clark’s nutcrackers like pine seeds and can bury tens of thousands of seeds each year. They remember most of them, but the ones they don’t remember help grow new pine forests.
2. Cerulean Warbler
Scientific Name: Setophaga cerulea
Although not fellow corvids, cerulean warblers do look very much like blue jays. Both birds have blue feathers over most of their bodies and white chests and bellies.
Furthermore, the cerulean warbler also has black and white striped wings like a blue jay. They both also eat insects, and the warbler will also eat plants and seeds during the winter.
3. Blue Grosbeak
Scientific Name: Passerina caerulea
Blue grosbeaks have brilliant blue feathers just like blue jays. They also have long, flat tails.
Both species can be aggressive when it comes to their nests. A blue grosbeak may defend up to 20 acres of territory during their nest building period.
4. Indigo Bunting
Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea
Indigo buntings have feathers that look just as bright blue as blue jays. But neither has true blue pigment instead, their feathers refract light, making them appear blue.
These two birds also live in the same territory, stretching from the middle of the U.S. to the East Coast.
5. White-Breasted Nuthatch
Scientific Name: Sitta carolinensis
Although not a corvid, this nuthatch has a flat tail and sharp beak similar to a blue jay. They also have a habit of storing excess acorns and seeds for the winter.
Instead of stockpiling them on the ground or in holes, the white-breasted nuthatch hammers them into trees. Then, when they’re ready to eat them, they crack open the shells while they’re held in place by the bark.
6. Black-Throated Blue Warbler
Scientific Name: Setophaga caerulescens
Blue jays and black-throated blue warblers are common sights on the East Coast. The warbler is a much smaller bird with darker feathers, almost black. But the two species can be aggressive when defending their nests.
The blue warbler will put on aggressive displays, and if that fails, they’ll give a hard chase to any threats.
7. California Magpie
Scientific Name: Pica nuttalli
It’s common for California magpies and blue jays to forage for most of their food on the ground. They eat seeds and grains, but also insects and even roadkill.
Both birds are also infamous for eating eggs from other nests, although the frequency of this is often exaggerated.
8. Black-Billed Magpie
Scientific Name: Pica hudsonia
Black-billed magpies look like a mix between their crow and blue jay cousins. Though their heads and backs are black, they also have bright white chests and wingtips like blue jays.
These magpies also “hoard” excess food like blue jays do. For instance, when they eat ticks off the backs of large mammals, they’ll sometimes hide them to eat later.
9. Green Jay
Scientific Name: Cyanocorax yncas
The corvid family contains some of the most intelligent birds in the world. Some of them, like green jays and blue jays, can use tools to help them survive.
Green jays in the wild will use sticks to pull apart loose bark so they can eat the insects beneath. Blue jays in captivity will use newspaper strips to pull in food pellets that are outside of their cages.
10. Florida Scrub-Jay
Scientific Name: Aphelocoma coerulescens
Florida scrub-jays don’t have the same pattern as blue jays, but they are the same bright blue. They also are around the same size and shape.
Florida scrub-jays grow between 10 to 12 inches (25-30 cm) and weigh a little less than 3 ounces (77 grams). They also form strong bonds with their families like blue jays.
11. Mexican Jay
Scientific Name: Aphelocoma wollweberi
Most of their range is in Mexico, but these jays also live in Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. Similar to blue jays, Mexican jays use not only their strong beaks but their feet to help them eat.
Both birds will hold nuts and seeds in their feet, then hammer into them with their beaks to open them.
12. California Scrub-Jay
Scientific Name: Aphelocoma californica
These birds look like blue jays without the distinct head crest. They also share the same tendency to hoard food and high intelligence.
In fact, these crafty jays will sometimes steal acorns from other jays after watching where they hide them. When it’s time to hide their own stashes, they actively check that no other birds are spying on them.
13. Canada Jay
Scientific Name: Perisoreus canadensis
Despite their name, these jays do also live in the Northwestern United States. They withstand the cold due to their food storing habits as well as their thick feathers.
Like blue jays, the Canada or gray jay even has thick feathers that cover their nostrils. Research suggests that these feathers may help them regulate their body temperatures better.
14. Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay
Scientific Name: Aphelocoma woodhouseii
Another crafty corvid, the Woodhouse scrub-jay is not above stealing, much like blue jays. Blue jays will sometimes target nests of other birds for their eggs.
Woodhouse scrub-jays will steal from fellow corvids. Their thin bills sometimes have trouble accessing pinecones for their seeds. So, they’ll sometimes snatch acorns and pine seeds from Clark’s nutcrackers instead.
15. Pinyon Jay
Scientific Name: Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus
Pinyon jays and blue jays have similar feeding habits, not just in the wild, but in backyards, too. Pinyon jays love the seeds of pinyon pines, and like blue jays with acorns, will bury thousands for later eating.
Both birds are happy to visit backyard bird feeders as well. They prefer suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts.
16. Steller’s Jay
This is the only other North American jay to have a crest like a blue jay. They also have similar horizontal black stripes on their wings, but lack the white feathers of a blue jay.
Although the blue jay lives mainly to the east, it is expanding westward into Steller’s jay territory. These species are so close that they sometimes breed together and produce hybrid offspring.
17. Mountain Bluebird
Scientific Name: Sialia currucoides
A bright blue bird like a blue jay, the mountain bluebird also has a strong family system. They may not always mate for life, but the male of a mating pair brings the female food while brooding.
When the eggs hatch, large flocks form to assist families in raising their fledglings.
18. Belted Kingfisher
Scientific Name: Megaceryle alcyon
Belted kingfishers aren’t corvids at all, but their own separate family, Alcedinidae. But it might be hard to tell that by appearances alone.
Female kingfishers have a blue hue close to that of blue jays. And both male and female kingfishers have a ring of color around their neck like a blue jay.
Blue jays and kingfisher also have a distinctive crest, giving their heads a pointy appearance, and long, sharp beaks.
19. Chihuahuan Raven
Scientific Name: Corvus cryptoleucus
Chihuahuan ravens and blue jays may not look too alike, but they do share the social habits of many corvids.
Males and females of both species work together to either build nests or care for eggs during breeding season. Chihuahuan ravens can also be territorial like blue jays but will tolerate neighboring pairs of the same species.
If they detect danger, these neighbors may also work together to mob potential threats.
20. Common Raven
Scientific Name: Corvus corax
Ravens and blue jays can mimic other birds and even humans. Blue jays use it as a defense mechanism, imitating the calls of hawks. This can alert jays of danger and trick food competitors into believing a hawk is nearby so they’ll leave.
Common ravens also mimic other birds in the wild. In captivity, they can be taught to imitate human speech, like a parrot.
21. American Crow
Scientific Name: Corvus brachyrhynchos
Crows and blue jays may have vastly different coloring, but both are members of the Corvidae family. These are very intelligent birds and have well-organized family structures.
Blue jays often mate for life and stay with their partners year-round. Likewise, American crows have family units, including offspring, that cooperate to raise the next brood.