Adolescence is an awkward time for all of us, but it’s not just people that go through physical changes—animals do too. In a photo posted on Reddit, a “teenage” Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is captured transitioning between having its fluffy, gray baby feathers to sporting its vibrant blue adult plumage.
With gray down feathers up top and sleek, blue feathers on its lower half, this little bird seems to have a split personality. However, this is a totally normal stage of a developing Blue Jay. Once it grows out its distinctive blue crest, the bird will continue to go through plumage changes throughout its life. Blue Jays are known for their unusual molting behavior—the birds undergo a complete change of feathers between June and July every year.
Despite the species’ appearance and name, Blue Jays are not actually blue. The vibrant cobalt color is an illusion created by refraction and the unique inner structure of the feathers. The overlaid plumage distorts the reflection of light, making it look blue. Without direct light, the blue is no longer reflected and the natural brown color of the feathers will be revealed.
Check out the adolescent Blue Jay below.
This “teenage” Blue Jay is transitioning between having its fluffy, gray baby feathers to sporting its vibrant blue adult plumage.