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Black-headed Jay - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Black-throated Jay; Lanceolated Jay

Plumage detail
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Sat Tal Forest, Alt. 5500 ft., Uttarakhand Himalayas, India, 12 October 2018
Garrulus lanceolatus


Photo © by Rajiv Lather

33cm (13 in). An unmistakable jay:

  • Black head with elongated crown feathers, erectable into ruffled crest
  • Bristly white streaks on throat
  • Greyish-pink body
  • Relatively long, barred blue tail
  • Largely blue wings with white carpal patch

Sexes similar. Juveniles are duller and browner.


From east Afghanistan over northern Pakistan to India and Nepal.
Locally common.


This is a monotypic species[1].
Sometimes placed in genus Lalocitta.


Open forest. Also in degraded forest, clearings, edges of forest and around villages. Occurs from 1500m to 4000m, lower in winter.


Usually seen in pairs or small groups, sometimes up to 40 birds and loosely associated with Eurasian Jay and Gold-billed Magpie.


Breeding recorded in April and May. It nests in trees and suitable bushes. The clutch contains 3-5 eggs which are incubated for 16 days. Both parents feed the young.


The diet includes insects, plants, small lizards, eggs, nestlings and they also scavenge. Fond of acorns and stores them for later use.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Rasmussen, PC and JC Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334672
  3. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507

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