Nutcracker Bird is a Jay-sized bird, with the short tail, long bill and big head giving it a front-heavy appearance in flight. The crown of Nutcracker Bird is unspotted and dark brown, the wings are blackish, and much of the remainder of the body feathering is dark chocolate-brown patterned with white spots. The vent is pure white, contrasting with the bfetcfc fan', which has a broad white terminal band, widest at the corners, and provides a bold field character when in flight. The wings are broad and rounded, and the flight is direct but with rather weak-looking and hesitant wingbeats.
Nutcracker Bird is a very rare visitor to Britain, with just one or two recorded every few years, although Nutcracker Bird can undergo irruptions from Siberia during pine cone famine, such as in 1968 when 324 turned up in Britain. Otherwise it is resident in southern Scandinavia, central and eastern Europe. It favours coniferous forests of spruce and arolla pine, but also occurs in stands of hazel. Like the Jay, it stores food for winter in the ground. As a vagrant in Britain it can occur in any habitat, including gardens.
Nutcracker Bird is silent during the winter, it becomes vocal in spring during courtship and again in summer when the young have fledged. The commonly heard call is a mechanical-sounding, loud and drawn-out, emphatic rasping "kraaaahhhhrrrr!", longer and higher-pitched than the "caw" of a crow, but otherwise is unlike any other birds' call. This is usually repeated a few times, more so when birds are agitated. It can also give some quiet conversational Jackdaw-like calls, and has a seldom-heard song, a subdued and quiet sub-song-like twittering sound, very varied and ranging between babbling, piping, whistling, gurgling and mewing, and sometimes including mimicry.