General Description: Black head with shaggy crest. Upper breast and upper back are black; the rear is deep blue. Faint, dark barring on the wings. Adults have blue vertical “eyebrows” above each eye. Juveniles have slightly browner heads and lack the blue eyebrows of the adult.
Habitat: Breeds primarily in dense conifer forests up to the tree line. Found in a variety of forested habitats other times of the year. Common in tree-rich residential and agricultural areas with adjacent forests. Form monogamous, long-term pair bonds.
Behavior: Highly vocal. Form flocks outside of the nesting season and often fly across clearings in single file. Have complex social hierarchies and dominance patterns.
Diet: These omnivores eat about two-thirds vegetable matter (seeds, nuts, berries, and fruits) and one-third animal matter (eggs and nestlings, invertebrates, suet, small rodents, reptiles, and carrion).
Range in North America: Found in western U.S., British Columbia, and Alaska.
When to See in Washington: Year-round residents, but some migration does occur in the fall and spring.