Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Black-headed Jay (Garrulus lanceolatus)


French: Geai lancéolé German: Strichelhäher Spanish: Arrendajo cabecinegro

Garrulus lanceolatus


, 1830,

#R, Simla–Almora district, north India


Along with G. lidthi sometimes separated in Lalocitta. Monotypic.


E Afghanistan (mountains near Kabul and Paktia) and W Himalayas across N Pakistan (S to Safed Koh range) and Kashmir (absent from the Vale) E to Nepal (E to vicinity of Kathmandu).

Descriptive notes

33 cm; 84–104 g. Unmistakable, with black hood, elongated crown feathers erectable into ruffled crest, greyish-pink body and relatively long, barred blue tail; bill... read more


Similar to that of G. glandarius. Typical call a dry rasping "skaaaak", somewhat... read more


Forests, preferring mixed pine-oak (Pinus-Quercus) and cedar-oak (Cedrus... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivorous. Chiefly invertebrates during breeding season, also small lizards and the eggs and nestlings of small birds; diet includes... read more


Eggs recorded in Apr and May. Probably has long-term pair-bond. Solitary breeder. Nest built by both sexes, a deep loose foundation of... read more


Resident, with some altitudinal migration linked with colder weather at higher elevations. In... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common in W Himalayas, especially so in Indian sector; reasonably common also across N Pakistan into extreme E Afghanistan; E limit of range... read more

Recommended citation

Madge, S. (2019). Black-headed Jay (Garrulus lanceolatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 14 December 2019).