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© Steve Vaughn/Panoramic Images (Florida Title Image Large)

Florida Scrub-Jay

The Florida scrub-jay, recognized in 1995 as a distinct species from the scrub-jays in the western United States, is the only bird species whose entire range is restricted to Florida. This species inhabits fire-dominated oak scrub habitat found on well-drained sandy soils in the Florida peninsula.  Since Florida scrub-jays are both habitat-specific and sedentary, the species is dependent on the preservation of quality scrub communities for its continued existence.

Much of the state’s original scrub has disappeared because of conversion to urban and agricultural uses as well as habitat modification such as the absence of sufficient fire.  Continuing loss, fragmentation, and degradation of scrub habitat has resulted in a decline of 80 to 90 percent in the original presettlement population of Florida scrub-jays. An estimated 25 to 40 percent of this decline has occurred since the 1980's, with a 1992 range-wide estimate yielding an overall population of approximately 10,000 birds. The species is listed as threatened by both the federal and state governments, and a comprehensive habitat conservation plan is being developed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

Studies have indicated that conservation measures for this species will depend on preservation and long-term management of suitable scrub habitat. The fate of the Florida scrub-jay depends entirely on how the few remaining tracts of scrub are managed, both on public and private land.


Florida Natural Areas Inventory's Online Field Guide to the Rare Plants and Animals of Florida

Detailed descriptions, photographs, drawings, maps, habitat information, and management guidelines for more than 200 rare plant species and 150 rare animal species.

FNAI Field Guide for the Florida Scrub Jay


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Florida Scrub Jay Species Spotlight 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Species Spotlight website allows the public to learn about a selection of Florida’s most fascinating wildlife species.

Visit the FWC Scrub Jay Species Spotlight


Audubon Watchlist Florida Scrub Jay

Audubon and the America Bird Conservancy have joined forces to rally conservationists around America's most imperiled birds. WatchList 2007 uses the latest available research from the bird conservation community along with citizen science data to identify 176 species in the continental U.S. and 38 in Hawaii that are in need of immediate conservation help. It is a call to action to save species fighting for survival amid a convergence of environmental challenges, including habitat loss, invasive species and global warming.

Visit the Audubon WatchList Florida Scrub Jay Website

The Florida Scrub-Jay and Conservation

  • Climate Change and Florida Scrub Jays

    by Defenders of Wildlife
    The potential impact of climate change on the threatened Florida scrub-jay was the subject of an analysis of scientific research by Defenders of Wildlife in 2007.

    Read More

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