The Eurasian Jay can be seen throughout the year from Yakushima Island north to Hokkaido in Japan, in foothill forests as well as farther up in mountain woods, while some move to lowlands or warmer areas during fall.
This bird is very cautious so it is difficult to observe from a short distance. However, it is easily recognized even from a distance by the distinctive white patch on its rump, when it's soaring. Its usual call is something like “Jah-jah” in a hoarse voice, but it is also known that it mimic other birds' songs.
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* The Eurasian Jay seems to be a “voice mimic” of other birds such as the Brown-eared Bulbul and the Common Buzzard.
As noted in the profiles of the Large-billed Crow and the Azure-winged Magpie, birds of the Corvidae family have common behaviors: hoarding food by hiding it in the ground, and storing food in its crop. If you see a jay carrying an acorn in its throat in the fall, it will hide the acorn under some fallen leaves for retrieval later during winter, which is a food-hoarding behavior. As explained in the profile of the Naumann's Thrush, colored berries are eaten by small birds, and the seeds are spread in the bird droppings; brown acorns, however, have another strategy. They have such hard shells that small birds cannot eat them right away, so instead they get jays and small mammals to spread the seed by hoarding them in different spots. Research is being conducted to investigate how some birds within the Corvidae family can remember thousands of hiding spots. Even so, some of the hoarded acorns survive without being eaten and can sprout.
Animals of the same species should look the same and have the same habits, but when there are differences in color and body size according to where they live, they are divided into “subspecies.” Some are too similar for their differences to be recognized without detailed measuring after their authorized capture.
On the other hand, some subspecies, such as a subspecies japonica of Long-tailed Tit and a subspecies of Eurasian Jay in Hokkaido, are easily distinguished by their colors and patterns.
The subspecies of Eurasian Jay in Hokkaido is sometimes said to have cute, gentle eyes, but like other members of the omnivorous Crow family, in spring and fall it eats the eggs and chicks of other species.
Birds of the Crow family commonly use their feet for eating, holding an acorn with their feet and peeling off its hard shell to eat the inside.
The subspecies of Eurasian Jay in Hokkaido has colors on its head and eyes that differ from those of other Eurasian Jays. People, who have become used to seeing this subspecies often in Hokkaido, have the impression that Eurasian Jays in the south of Honshu look very gallant.
Canon sites where this bird is seen