Steller’s Jay

Why does this species have the dubious honor of being one of the most frequently misspelled names in all of bird watching?


Although its color is certainly “stellar”… that is not the correct spelling. Steller’s Jays were discovered on an Alaskan island in 1741 by Georg Steller, a naturalist on a Russian explorer’s ship. When a scientist officially described the species, in 1788, it was decided to name the bird after its discoverer– along with his other discoveries that include: Steller’s sea lion and Steller’s Sea- Eagle. Steller’s and Blue jays are the only North American jays with crests, and the only that use mud to build their nests.


There are many collective nouns for this bird: “band”, “cast”, “party”, and a “scold” of jays.