Black Headed Jay (Garrulus lanceolatus)

The Black Headed Jay is found in the Himalayas, ranging from Afghanistan across to India and Bhutan. It is a large, striking bird with a black head and crest that stands out when it lands after a short flight. It has a long, well defined blue with black barring tail.

Black Headed Jays are found both in open grounds as well as forests and adapt well to their environment including close to human habitats, where they forage for food in village garbage dumps and drink from puddles of water in Himalayan villages. They can be noisy when in groups with loud screeching ‘kraa’ sounds.

They are found in between 1000 to 4500 meters in the Himalayas, moving to lower elevations during the winter.

They feed on insects, grain and acorn besides food scraps, and are very amusing to watch. I photographed them in the Garwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand.

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