Female Blue Jays: How Different Are They From Males?

Difference between female and male blue jays

If you have seen Blue Jays nesting in your backyard, you may want to know how to identify a female Blue Jay from a male. For starters, distinguishing the two is quite a difficult task, as they are extremely similar.

Usually, female Blue Jays are a bit smaller than males. They also tend to be slightly duller in color — though this distinction can only be seen when compared closely side by side. As Blue Jays are non-sexually dimorphic, the only surefire way to differentiate between the two is through DNA sexing. 

Still, despite being very similar on the surface, male and female Blue Jays have more disparities than one might think. So, continue reading as this article explores the differences between male vs. female Blue Jays.

How Can You Tell If a Blue Jay Is Male or Female?

Male and female blue jay looking for food in the grass

The only reliable way to tell if a Blue Jay is male or female is through vent sexing or DNA testing. This is a hands-on process performed physically on birds. 

However, as this method is invasive and not usually advised for birdwatchers, other ways can be explored. For instance, one can look at a Blue Jay’s size to get a clue about what gender it is. 

Usually, male Blue Jays are a bit taller and heavier than female Blue Jays. Note, though, that this way of comparing will require birdwatchers to wait for two Blue Jays to stand side by side, which requires a bit of patience. 

You can also examine each bird’s pigments. Male Blue Jays tend to maintain a slightly more vibrant plumage than females. That said, females tend to be more subdued in color and patterning.

Furthermore, the behavior of these birds can give you insight into their gender.

As an example, a female Blue Jay will typically be more docile and passive than its male counterpart. Meanwhile, males are often seen competing with other males during mating season or engaging in fights over territory.

When it comes to nesting, both sexes actively partake in building the nest. Yet, you will see that a Blue Jay female will do most of the work — including making the nest itself — whereas males will focus on collecting materials.

To give you a quick overview, you can also watch this video on how to tell male and female Blue Jays apart:

How To Tell Male And Female Blue Jays Apart - Is It Even Possible?

What Does a Female Blue Jay Look Like?

Since Blue Jays are categorized as non-sexually dimorphic birds, you can expect a Blue Jay female to look incredibly similar to a male. It will have the same blue coloration, though it will be slightly darker when closely checked.

With regard to the color of their chests, female Blue Jays will display grayish-white feathers. They will also retain black lines that run along their heads and down their throats.

As for their wings, these female birds will have a bright blue shade with white specks and black-pigmented bars. The same goes for their long tails, which appear relatively glossy when viewed from the side or back.

Similar to a male Blue Jay, the legs and feet of a female will be black. Furthermore, its eyes will display a brown tint that perfectly matches its head’s color.

Do Female and Male Blue Jays Look the Same?

Male and female blue jay appearance

Yes, female and male Blue Jays are identical in appearance. Both have pointed beaks, dark feet, gray chests, brown eyes, black-barred wing shields, white-tipped wings, and overall blue feathers.

In fact, the only difference between them is their size. Female Blue Jays are usually smaller than males. Keep in mind, though, that this size difference is barely noticeable and is not a reliable way of telling the sexes apart.

Are Female Blue Jays Bigger Than Males?

Generally, female Blue Jays are a bit smaller than their male counterparts. This means they weigh less, have more compact bodies, and can be more agile, which may play a role in their being evasive.

However, it is worth mentioning that looking at these birds’ sizes alone might not be entirely accurate in determining their gender. For instance, some male Blue Jays weigh only as much as female ones do.

With this fact in mind, the American Birding Association (ABA) advises bird enthusiasts to use a combination of size and behavior to specify the sex of the birds they encounter. 

Differences Between Male and Female Blue Jays

The dissimilarities between male and female Blue Jays can be categorized into four main classifications — appearance, behavior, singing and calls, nesting and feeding, and courtship and reproduction. 

All of these areas will be discussed in the following sections, highlighting the differences between the two sexes.


Starting with appearance, female and male Blue Jays are known for their striking plumage. As one of the beautiful blue birds we normally encounter, both genders have dark blue upperparts and gray bellies.

However, males appear to be more brightly colored than the females.

To help you visualize, the following is a photo of a male Blue Jay:

Male blue jay appearance

In contrast, here is an image showing a female Blue Jay:

Female blue jay appearance

Apart from that, you should note that Blue Jays also differ in size. Mature males can range from 11 to 11.8 inches in stature, while females reach an average height of 9.8 to 11 inches.

The same applies to their weight. The female Blue Jay is slightly lighter than the male one, with a weight ranging between 2.2 and 2.6 ounces. On the other hand, male Blue Jays can weigh up to 3.5 ounces.

However, you should note that these visual cues may not be enough for you to distinguish between female and male Blue Jays alone; you will need to take into account other aspects, such as behavior or singing patterns.

Fun Fact: The bright blue color of male and female Blue Jays makes them so popular that they are even sometimes mistaken for mythical birds, such as blue woodpeckers or blue cardinals.


Without a doubt, the male Blue Jay will appear more aggressive when compared to the female Blue Jay. The reason for this may be due to the males’ instinctual need to protect their territories, mates, and young ones.

This can also be related to their mating rituals, which include fighting with other males to win over the female.

Also related to these birds’ behaviors, I came across a study that proves that male Blue Jays are dominant over their mates too. This could be because they have more physical strength and are also a bit larger than females.

On the other hand, I have also observed these birds in a captive environment and have noticed that some female Blue Jays can be just as feisty and territorial as their male counterparts.

In the wild, though, females are also known for protecting their babies from predators.

Singing and Calls

As far as singing and calls are concerned, male and female Blue Jays are very similar in that they both sing in a manner that sounds like a child’s rattle. However, bear in mind that females tend to be more expressive.

In fact, the female Blue Jay is well-known for “begging.” It will call out repeatedly for its nestlings, often with an almost desperate tone. In contrast, males do not sing as often or as loudly as females do.

Besides that, female Blue Jays use peep calls as well. These are short chirps and squeaks, also known as intrapair contact calls, that they utter during the mating, egg-laying, and brooding seasons.

Meanwhile, you will find that male Blue Jays will sing more intensely than females from time to time, particularly during the courting period.

Nesting and Feeding

Another thing you should keep in mind is that male and female Blue Jays are very different when it comes to nesting behavior. Females are the ones constructing the nest, whereas males gather materials.

So if you notice a Blue Jay carrying a twig, leaf, stick, or grass in its beak, the chances are high that you are looking at a male.

After the nest has been built, the female Blue Jay will start laying eggs. The male won’t participate in the incubation duties; instead, it will gather food for its mate and their unhatched babies.

Once the eggs hatch, they’ll be fed by both parents until they’re ready to leave the nest. However, the female will continue to feed them while they’re away from their parents’ primary spot until they can fly on their own.

Then, both parents will resume building another nest for their future young ones. This process can be repeated several times, as Blue Jays are known to mate for life.

Fun Fact: Like most other birds that lay blue eggs, female Blue Jays hatch small greenish eggs that turn to blue later on. These eggs are also marked with grey or brown spots.

Courtship and Reproduction

As for courtship, it is the male Blue Jay who does the majority of the work. They will sing, perform a dance routine, conduct aerial displays, and compete with other males in order to attract females.

On the flip side, the female Blue Jay is responsible for choosing a mate. This process can range from one-on-one interactions with potential partners to group ceremonies where multiple males gather to court a female.

Most of the time, such occasions happen from March to mid-July, which coincides with many other annual events for birds, like migrations, nesting seasons, and more, making it challenging to spot.

Fortunately, Blue Jays nest near wooded areas or in man-made structures such as old chimneys or bridges; therefore, they are easily visible in their natural habitat.

In terms of reproduction, male and female Blue Jays are monogamous creatures. This means that once they have chosen a mate, they are generally faithful to that partner for their entire lives.

Do Blue Jays Mate For Life?

Female blue jay and its mate

Interestingly, Blue Jays are monogamous and thus mate for life. They pair up in the springtime and stay together until they die, which is quite amazing considering that their average lifespan is only about seven years.

What’s more, you will be thrilled to know that this blue-feathered species holds their families close — they are protective of their own and fiercely loyal to one another.

In fact, even from courtship to nesting territory assignment, Blue Jays are very much like human couples. They do everything together — including raising their young and defending their territory against threats.

However, bear in mind that it is not uncommon for a male or female Blue Jay to find new mates after their partner dies. It is also not unheard of for a pair of Blue Jays to split up permanently if the female fails to lay any eggs.

Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand the differences between male vs. female Blue Jays! Drop your thoughts about both genders of Blue Jays in the comments, along with any questions you may have about the topic!

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