A lot of nonsense is being spoken these days on the news about the Corvid-19
One could honestly describe it as a flurry of fake news.
In order to ensure my subscribers have a full and accurate Pica of what is really going on, and to ensure these fake journalists eat crow, I have decided to make a series of articles right here, on the Corvid 19, or 19 corvids you need to know the science about. You will learn how to recognise the symptoms – the images, the names in various languages, the cultural significance of each.
There are more than 120 species and possibly more than 400 subspecies of Corvids, which in themselves are among the most intelligent birds, with a brain to body mass ratio similar to humans and whales, and have adapted to nearly every climate and area of the world. This is, therefore, just a representative selection that should give you a feel for the family Corvidae. We will also mention related species to each chosen Corvid, and not more than one per genus will be chosen, as there are anyway 24 different genera so I have to leave out some from the line-up of 19. If Coronavirus comes back with a new strain in five years’ time, it will be an easier matter.
Anyway, for today’s Corvid, let’s kick off with a little fellow very well-known and popular with our American readership.
Here’s the info, which for each of the Corvids in this series will be presented in a similar tabular form.
|Common Name||Blue jay|
|Other names||Jaybird, Bluebird|
|Scientific Name||Cyanocitta cristata|
|Number of species in the genus||2|
|Number of subspecies in this species||4|
|Literal meaning of Scientific name||Dark blue jay, crested.|
|Described by||Linnaeus, 1758|
|First attested in literature||1731 by Mark Catesby|
|Length bill to tail (cm)||30|
|Distribution||North America, especially eastern side|
|Remarks||Aggressive to other birds, omnivorous, including catching insects on the wing. Like squirrels, can hide nuts for later use. Wide range of vocalisations including the mimicking of human speech.|
|Migrations||Limited, in some populations|
|Sexual dimorphism||Males and females similar in size and plumage|
|Close relatives||Steller’s jay, of the Rocky Mountains|
|Not close relatives thought to be close||Crested jay (not a Corvid but a Laniid)|
|Cultural significance||High, in America. References in African American traditions and also because of its iconic appearance frequently adopted as a mascot. In Vera Lynne’s song @there’s ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover” the bird most likely to be envisaged by American listeners would be this bird, but neither this nor any other obvious candidate for the name “bluebird” actually lives in the UK.|