Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens)

Federal Register | Recovery | Critical Habitat | Conservation Plans | Petitions | Life History

Listing Status:   


General Information

The plumage of adult males and females looks alike, but males are slightly larger than females. The head, nape, wings, and tail are pale blue. The back and belly are pale gray. The throat and chest are white and bordered by a blue gray bib. Juveniles differ in appearance from adults in that they have dull or dark brown upperparts. Florida scrub jays look similar to other jays (Cyanocitta), but do not have a crest, white-tipped wings or tail feathers, or black barring.

  • States/US Territories in which the Florida scrub-jay, Wherever found is known to or is believed to occur:  Florida
  • US Counties in which the Florida scrub-jay, Wherever found is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
  • USFWS Refuges in which the Florida scrub-jay, Wherever found is known to occur:  Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
  • Additional species information
Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
1987-06-03 Southeast Region (Region 4) Wherever found

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
2006-01-25 00:00:00.0 71 FR 4092 4097 Petitions To Reclassify the Florida Scrub-Jay From Threatened to Endangered: Notice of 90-day petition finding.
1982-12-30 00:00:00.0 47 FR 58454 58460 Review of Vertebrate Wildlife for Listing as End. or Thr. Species
2005-08-16 00:00:00.0 70 FR 48189 48190 Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the Florida Scrub-Jay Resulting From the Proposed Construction of a Singe-Family Home in Sarasota County, FL.
1985-07-18 00:00:00.0 50 FR 29238 Findings on Petitions & Initiation of Status Review; 50 FR 29238
1986-05-21 00:00:00.0 51 FR 18627 18630 Proposed Thr. Status for Florida Scrub Jay; 51 FR 18627-18630
1987-06-03 00:00:00.0 52 FR 20715 20719 Thr. Status for Florida Scrub Jay; 52 FR 20715-20719
2006-02-15 00:00:00.0 71 FR 7993 7994 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice 5-Year Review of Florida Scrub-Jay
2007-11-23 00:00:00.0 72 FR 65763 65764 Receipt of an Application and Availability of an Environmental Assessment for an Incidental Take Permit for Capital Improvement Projects within Charlotte County, FL
1984-07-13 00:00:00.0 49 FR 28583 28585 Notice of Finding on 6 Petitions; 49 FR 28583-28585

» Recovery

Current Recovery Plan(s)
Date Title Plan Action Status Plan Status
1990-05-09 Florida Scrub Jay View Implementation Progress Final
Other Recovery Documents
Date Citation Page Title Document Type
2006-02-15 71 FR 7993 7994 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice 5-Year Review of Florida Scrub-Jay
  • Notice 5-year Review
Five Year Review
Date Title
2007-09-28 Florida Scrub Jay 5-Year Review

» Critical Habitat

No critical habitat rules have been published for the Florida scrub-jay.

» Conservation Plans

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) (learn more)
HCP Plan Summaries
America's First Home
Athanas, Paul SFL
Atlantis at Tequesta
Aulbach SFL
Balmoral (O.C. Mendes)
Bank, Lawrence
Bigord SFL
Boxer SFL
Brandon Capitol Corp. (Villages of Tramore)
Butler, Eugene HCP
Casa del Sol
Castro, Ivania
Cavalear Co. (Cloisters)
Charlotte County Capital Improvement Projects
Charlotte County County-wide Florida Scrub-jay HCP
Charlotte County West County Library
Charlotte Crossing Apartments
Chunilall, Guruday
Church of God by Faith
City of Cape Coral
City of Deltona
City of Palm Bay
Coconut Point Incorporated
David Sime, Single Family, Brevard Co., FL
Deep Creek Batch
Deleta Earle
Deltona Family YMCA
Deltona Retail Holdings, LLC-Deltona Village
Deltona YMCA
Duke Construction Corporation Alden Ave
Duke Construction Corporation--McTavish
Eber Cove
Elliott and Gracia
Famulari SFL 1
Famulari SFL 2
Famulari SFL 3
Famulari SFL 4
Florida Scrub-jay Umbrella
Formosa Homes, Inc.
Founders Ridge, Inc.
Ft. Macaulay Development Co. (Windsor Estates)
Gauthier, Carlos HCP
General Real Estate (Bal Harbor)
Generation Builders
Grande Bay Development
Grimes, Jack
Harbor Heights Fire Station
Henshaw, Bill
Heron's Cove
Hill, Joseph (Coquina Palms)
Home Depot
Howland Boulevard, Deltona
Indian River/Sebastian Areawide
Jacobs, Dorothy
Johns Island Golf Club (58th Avenue Expansion)
Jorden, Debra HCP
Ladd Development Inc.
LaPalma Construction, Inc.
Lavelle SFL
Leonard SFL 1
Leonard SFL 2
Leonard SFL 3
Leonard SFL 4
Leonard SFL 5
Leonard SFL 6
Leonard SFL 7
Leonard SFL 8
Mangrove Bay/Senior Lifestyle Jupiter
Markieh, Ali (Cheltenham & Jupiter)
Markieh, Ali (Cynthia St.)
Maronda Homes-Algardi-Palm Bay
Maronda Homes-Aries-Port St. Johns
Maronda Homes-Campbell-Palm Bay
Maronda Homes-Emerson-Palm Bay
Maronda Homes Inc. of Florida
Maronda Homes-MacKay-Palm Bay
Maronda Homes-Timbruce-Palm Bay
Maronda Homes Wilderness
Marsol Construction Corp. Summer Brook
McShane and Dey HCP
M. Kodsi of Lantana Development (Milford/Martesia Project)
Moren, Robert HCP
Mortgage Management, L.P.
Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC
Mosel, Peter SFL
Mouhot (single family lot)
Nissan, Edward
Nold, Linda B.
Ocean Ridge, Limited
Ocean Shore Estates
On Top of the World (II)
Palm Coast Blue Water and Matanza Shores
Pansulla III, Joseph
Parrish Medical Center
Pauwels, Bertha MFL
Perez SFL
Perron, Jacquelyn SFL
Phidd, Kheino
Pineda Development Corporation
Presley, H.
Results Builders SFL 1
Results Home SFL
Richardson, Michael
Riverside Development Group (Lake Washington Preserve)
RNR Properties (Cypress Creek-Phase I)
Shadow Wood Subdivision
Southern Multicapital Corporation
Steve Therrien
Stone, Dustin
Tamburri, Nicholas SFL
Tapper, W.
The Commons Group, LLC
The Plantation at Leesburg
Thomas, Anthony
Today Homes - 745 Cedar Ave
Today Homes - Estaves
Today Homes - Lezama
Towne Realty Company (Satellite Motel Time Share)
Tropic Vista
Van Brunt SFL
Vincenzo Scorpio
Visually Impaired Persons of Charlotte County
Volusia County DDD School
Volusia County Deltona Library extension
Volusia County Roads
Wal-Mart Corporation
Walz and Company of Sebring (Palm Haven Development)
Waterside Down (Cochran)
Waterside Down (Cochran) Amendment #1 (phase II)
Webster, Edward HCP
Wilson, John and Carmen SFL
Wilson, John and Carmen SFL Permit Extension
Woolbright Venture (Howard Scharlin)

» Petitions

» Life History

Habitat Requirements

The Florida scrub-jay lives only in the scrub and scrubby flatwoods habitats of Florida. This type of habitat grows only on nearly pure, excessively well-drained sandy soils, and occurs along present coastlines in Florida, on paleodunes of the high central ridges and other ancient shorelines of the Florida Peninsula, and inland on scattered alluvial deposits bordering several major rivers. This species' habitat is dominated by a layer of evergreen oaks [myrtle oak (Quercus myrtifolia) and/or Archbold oak (Q. inopina), sand live oak (Q. geminata), Chapman oak (Q. chapmanii), and runner oak (Q. minima)], rusty lyonia (Lyonia ferruginea), and Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides). This layer is rarely greater than two meters in height, except where fire has been suppressed. Ground cover is sparse, dominated by saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and sand palmetto (Sabal etonia). Bare sand patches are essential for foraging and acorn-caching. Slash pines (Pinus elliottii) and sand pines (P. clausa) are widely scattered with usually less than 15 percent cover (Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick 1996a).

Food Habits

Scrub-jays are omnivorous, eating almost anything they can catch. Insects comprise the majority of the animal diet throughout most of the year (Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick 1984). Acorns are by far the most important plant food (Fitzpatrick et al. 1991); surplus acorns are frequently cached in the ground (DeGange et al. 1989).

Movement / Home Range

The Florida scrub jay is endemic to peninsular Florida. The estimated population is between 7,000 to 11,000 individuals (Breininger 1989; Fitzpatrick et al. 1991; Fitzpatrick et al. 1994). Scrub has been significantly reduced by development activity and now typically occurs only in scattered and often small patches in peninsular Florida (Fitzpatrick et al. 1991). Florida scrub-jay populations formerly inhabited 39 of 40 peninsular Florida counties, from Levy, Gilchrist, Alachua, Clay, and Duval Counties southward. Its range currently occurs from Flagler, Marion, and Citrus counties south to Collier, Glades, and Palm Beach Counties, with the largest remaining populations in Brevard County (especially coastal scrubs of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Kennedy Space Center), Highlands County (near Sebring, Lake Placid, and Venus, and on Avon Park Air Force Range), and in Marion County (at Ocala National Forest).

Reproductive Strategy

Florida scrub-jays have a social structure that involves cooperative breeding, a trait that the western North American species of scrub-jays do not exhibit (Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick 1984). Florida scrub-jays live in groups ranging from two (a single mated pair) up to large extended families of eight adults and one to four juveniles. Fledgling scrub-jays remain with the breeding pair in their natal territory as "helpers," forming a closely-knit cooperative family group. Pre-breeding numbers are generally reduced to either a pair with no helpers or families of three or four individuals (a pair plus one or two helpers). To become a breeder, a scrub-jay must acquire a territory and mate. Evidence presented by Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick (1984) suggests that Florida scrub-jays are permanently monogomous. The pair retains ownership and sole breeding privileges in their particular territory year after year. Courtship to form the pair is lengthy and ritualized, and involves posturing and vocalizations made by the male to the female (Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick 1996a). Copulation between the pair is generally out of sight of other jays (Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick 1984). Age at first breeding varies from 1 to 7 years, although most individuals become breeders between 2 and 4 years of age (Fitzpatrick and Woolfenden 1988). Persistent breeding populations of Florida scrub-jays exist only where there are scrub oaks in sufficient quantity to provide an ample winter acorn supply, cover from predators, and nest sites during the spring (Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick 1996a). They typically nest at the edge of an oak thicket, near an open area. During the breeding season, which runs from March through June, average production of young is two fledglings per pair, per year (Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick 1990; Fitzpatrick et al. 1994), and the presence of helpers improves fledgling success (Mumme 1992). Annual productivity must average at least two young fledged per pair for a population of scrub-jays to maintain long-term stability (Fitzpatrick et al. 1991).

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