Jays are several species of medium-sized, usually colorful and noisy, passerine birds in the crow family Corvidae. The names jay and magpie are somewhat interchangeable, and the evolutionary relationships are rather complex. For example, the Eurasian Magpie seems more closely related to the Eurasian Jay than to the Oriental Blue and Green Magpies, whereas the Blue Jay is not closely related to either.

Systematics and species

Template:Contradict-other See classification box for relevant genera links. Traditionally, the Crested Jay (Platylophus galericulatus) is placed here, but apparently this is not correct, as suggested by anatomical and molecular evidence[citation needed]. Its placement remains unresolved; it does not seem to be a corvid at all. According to Ericson et al. (2005), jays are not a monophyletic group. Rather, they can be divided into an American and an Old World lineage (the latter including the ground jays and the Piapiac), while the gray jays of the genus Perisoreus form a group of their own. The Black Magpie, formerly believed to be related to jays, is classified as a treepie.

Old World ("brown") jays

Grey jays

American ("blue") jays

In culture


The word "jay" has an archaic meaning in American slang meaning a person who chatters impertinently.[1]

The term jaywalking was coined in 1915 to label persons crossing a busy street carelessly and becoming a traffic hazard.[2] The term began to imply recklessness or impertinent behavior as the convention became established. (Template:OED).

See also


  • Ericson, Per G. P.; Jansén, Anna-Lee; Johansson, Ulf S. & Ekman, Jan (2005): Inter-generic relationships of the crows, jays, magpies and allied groups (Aves: Corvidae) based on nucleotide sequence data. Journal of Avian Biology 36: 222-234. PDF fulltext

External links

Paw 1 This article is part of Project Aves, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each bird, including made-up species.
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