Corvids

Corvids are birds in the family Corvidae, including crows, ravens, and jays. Corvids are some of the largest birds in the passerine order. They are also notable for their intelligence and social organization. Members of this family, including jays and ravens, notoriously take advantage of unattended human food and trash. Please secure your food and dispose of all trash to help keep these birds wild.

 

Ravens & Jays - Order Passeriformes, Family Corvidae

 
 fluffy bird with dark wings and head and a white belly perches on a branch.
Gray Jay

NPS Photo

Canada (Gray) Jay
Perisoreus canadensis

Habitat: forest & subalpine
Seasons: abundant year-round
Size: length 11.5 in (29 cm), wingspan 18 in (45 cm)
Canada Jay (Pacific) Calls

Canada (formerly known as Gray) Jays resemble large, fluffy chickadees, with short bills and dark heads. Plummage primarily grey, but the Pacific population is darker than those found in the Rocky Mountains. Pacific Canada Jays have more black on the head, a white belly, and a brownish tinge on the back. Juveniles are slate grey throughout, with a white malar (a stripe on the cheek). Canada Jays primarily eat seeds, berries, and insects, but will also boldly investigate campsites for food, giving these birds the name "camp-robbers".

 
A large bird with a grey head and body, a sharp beak, and black wings.
Clark's Nutcracker

Brett Klopp Photo

Clark's Nutcracker
Nucifraga columbiana

Habitat: forest & subalpine
Seasons: common in summer/fall, uncommon in winter/spring
Size: length 12 in (30.4 cm), wingspan 24 in (60.9 cm)
Clark's Nutcracker Calls

At a glance, Clark's Nutcrackers can sometimes be confused with Canada Jays, but Clark's Nutcrackers have a pale grey head without any of the black that Canada Jays have on their heads. Nutcrakers also have pale grey bodies. Wings are dark except for a white patch on the secondary feathers. Tail is mostly white with black feathers in the center.

 
A large black bird on a lawn.
Common Raven

NPS Photo

Common Raven
Corvus corax

Habitat: forest, subalpine, alpine
Seasons: common year-round
Size: length 24 in (60.9 cm), wingspan 53 in (134.6 cm)
Common Raven Calls

While crows can be found in the park, Ravens are more common. Ravens are all black like crows, but have grey-based, shaggy neck feathers, a long neck and heavy bill, and a wedge-shaped tail (crow tails are flat). Ravens have a swagger-like walk, unlike jays which always hop. Ravens can often be seen soaring above, even into the alpine terrain of the park, and have a distinctive deep croaking call.

 
A blue bird with a black head and crest perches on a split-log fence.
Steller's Jay

NPS Photo

Steller's Jay
Cyanocitta stelleri

Habitat: forest & subalpine
Seasons: abundant year-round
Size: length 11.5 in (29.2 cm), wingspan 19 in (48.2 cm)
Steller's Jay (Coastal) Calls

Steller's jays are common throughout the park and can be seen foraging in groups. They are overall dark blue with a black head and crest, broad wings, and a short tail. Pacific populations are darker than other populations and have blue forehead marks instead of white. Juveniles are more gray than black.


 
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Last updated: November 25, 2019

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