Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)


French: Geai des chênes German: Eichelhäher Spanish: Arrendajo euroasiático

Corvus Glandarius


, 1758,



Hitherto treated as conspecific with G. bispecularis and G. leucotis (see both). Geographical variation complex, with races divisible into six groups: European “glandarius group” (first eleven races listed below), N African “cervicalis group”, Middle Eastern “atricapillus group”, Caspian single-taxon “hyrcanus group”, Siberian “brandtii group” and Japanese “japonicus group”. Numerous additional forms have been described, most referable to intermediate populations, and best treated as synonyms: thus, armoricanus and caledoniensis included in rufitergum; septentrionalis in nominate; lusitanicus in fasciatus; yugoslavicus and jordansi in albipectus; oenops and theresae in minor; rhodius, zervasi, chiou, susianae and hansguentheri in anatoliae; nigrifrons in krynicki; caspius in hyrcanus; sewerzowii, bambergi, pallidifrons, kurilensis and ussuriensis in brandtii; diaphorus in pekingensis; namiyei in japonicus; and schimoizumii in hiugaensis. Twenty-seven subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. g. hibernicus Witherby & E. J. O. Hartert, 1911 – Ireland.
  • G. g. rufitergum E. J. O. Hartert, 1903 – C & S Scotland, England, Wales and NW France.
  • G. g. glandarius (Linnaeus, 1758) – European Jay – N & C Europe E to Urals.
  • G. g. fasciatus (A. E. Brehm, 1857) – Spain and Portugal.
  • G. g. corsicanus Laubmann, 1912 – Corsica.
  • G. g. ichnusae O. Kleinschmidt, 1903 – Sardinia.
  • G. g. albipectus O. Kleinschmidt, 1920 – Italy, Sicily and Dalmatian coast.
  • G. g. graecus Keve-Kleiner, 1939 – W Balkans, including mainland Greece.
  • G. g. ferdinandi Keve-Kleiner, 1944 – #RE Bulgaria and adjacent N Thrace.
  • G. g. cretorum R. Meinertzhagen, 1920 – Crete.
  • G. g. glaszneri Madarász, 1902 – Cyprus.
  • G. g. whitakeri E. J. O. Hartert, 1903 – N Morocco and NW Algeria.
  • G. g. minor J. P. Verreaux, 1857 – C Morocco and Saharan Atlas Range of Algeria.
  • G. g. cervicalis Bonaparte, 1853 – Black-crowned Jay – N & NE Algeria and NW Tunisia.
  • G. g. samios Keve-Kleiner, 1939 – Samos and possibly Kos (Greece), in SE Aegean Sea.
  • G. g. anatoliae Seebohm, 1883 – W, C & E Turkey E to N Iraq and W Iran.
  • G. g. iphigenia Sushkin & Ptuschenko, 1914 – Crimea.
  • G. g. krynicki Kaleniczenko, 1839 – Caucasus & NE Turkey.
  • G. g. atricapillus I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1832 – Black-capped Jay – W Syria, W Jordan and adjacent part of Israel.
  • G. g. hyrcanus Blanford, 1873 – Iranian Jay – S Caspian forests of SE Azerbaijan and N Iran.
  • G. g. brandtii Eversmann, 1842 – Brandt's Jay – S Siberia from Urals E to Sakhalin, S to N Mongolia, NW & NE China, Korea and N Japan (Hokkaido).
  • G. g. kansuensis Stresemann, 1928 – C China (Qinghai, Gansu and NW Sichuan).
  • G. g. pekingensis Reichenow, 1905 – E China (S Liaoning, Beijing, Shanxi, Hebei).
  • G. g. japonicus Temminck & Schlegel, 1847 – Japanese Jay – C Japan (Honshu and Oshima).
  • G. g. tokugawae Takatsukasa, 1931 – Sado I (off Honshu).
  • G. g. hiugaensis Momiyama, 1927 – Kyushu (SC Japan).
  • G. g. orii Nagamichi Kuroda, 1923 – Yakushima (S Japan).
  • Descriptive notes

    32–37 cm; 129–197 g (nominate), 130–175 g (pekingensis); wingspan 50–58 cm. Distinctive, rather broad-winged woodland bird with hesitant... read more


    By far the most familiar call is a loud, dry, rasping screech, “shaaaaak”, often... read more


    Inhabits woodlands and forests of all kinds, especially beech (Fagus) and hornbeam (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Omnivorous. Chiefly invertebrates during breeding season, notably caterpillars and beetles (Coleoptera) gleaned from foliage of trees; diet... read more


    Lays mainly from mid Apr in most of range, towards end of Apr in N and a week or so earlier in S; in Israel from as early as late Feb. Long... read more


    Mainly resident, with irregular movements, including irruptions and seasonal altitudinal movements... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to locally abundant within its vast geographical range. The following estimates (territories/pairs) have been made for most... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius). 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 21 February 2020).