Black-headed jay

Black-headed jay
Garrulus lanceolatus

Photo by Srimonti Dutta (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
black-headed jay (en); gaio-de-cabeça-preta (pt); geai lancéolé (fr); arrendajo cabecinegro (es); strichelhäher (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae

This species is found along the southern foothills of the Himalayas mountain range, from western Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, through northern India and into Nepal.

These birds are 30-35 cm long and weigh 85-105 g.

The black-headed jay is mostly found in mixed oak-pine and oak-cedar forests, but also in scrublands, arable land and sometimes goes near human settlements. They are present at altitudes of 1.500-4.000 m.

They are omnivorous, eating mainly invertebrates and small vertebrates such as small lizards, eggs and nestlings of small birds, but also seeds, acorns and berries.They also scavenges discarded food scraps near villages.

Black-headed jays breed in April-July. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a deep, loose foundation of twigs, lined with rootlets, grass stems and rhizoids similar to horsehair. It is placed in a fork in a tree or large scrub, 5-7 m above the ground. The female lays 3-5 eggs, which she incubates alone for 16 days while being fed by the male. The chicks fledge 3 weeks after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is reported to be relatively common, although less so in Nepal. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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