Rook

Scientific name: Corvus frugilegus

Did you know: Rooks are known for their problem-solving abilities, even capable of using tools in certain situations!

What Do Rooks Look Like? (how to identify them)

Rooks, a part of the crow family, are easily identifiable by their striking black plumage, which gleams blue or purple in sunlight. Adults are notable for their whitish, featherless face area, making them distinct from other crows. 

These birds, weighing between 280 to 340 grams, boast a wingspan of 81 to 99 cm, with their wing shape being longer and narrower compared to the carrion crow.

Differences Between Male And Female Rooks

Male and female rooks are similar in appearance, with subtle differences hard to discern from a distance. Both genders share the same glossy black feathers and the characteristic pale face. 

However, upon closer observation, females may appear slightly smaller, and their plumage might have a less vibrant sheen.

What Do Rooks Eat?

Rooks have a varied diet, primarily feeding on grubs and invertebrates found in the soil. They also consume plant materials like cereals, making them occasional visitors to farmlands. 

These intelligent birds are known to adapt to urban environments, scavenging for food scraps and litter, showcasing their versatile and opportunistic feeding habits.

Where Do Rooks Live? (inc. migration info)

Rooks are predominantly found in the UK and across Europe, favouring open agricultural lands with suitable tall trees for nesting. These sociable birds prefer lowland areas and often form large colonies, known as rookeries, near human settlements. 

While mostly resident, some northern populations migrate southward in harsh winter conditions.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Rooks)

The rook’s call is a distinctive caw, varying in pitch and used in different contexts. This vocal bird communicates through a range of sounds including squawks and chirps, especially around their rookeries. Their calls, less raucous than the carrion crow’s, are an integral part of the rural soundscape.

Fun Rook Facts (kid friendly)

  • Rooks are social birds, often seen in large flocks and hardly ever alone.
  • They can live up to 6 years in the wild.
  • Rooks use tools in captivity, showing remarkable problem-solving skills.
  • The bare patch on their face helps distinguish them from other crows.
  • A group of rooks is sometimes called a ‘parliament’ due to their collective nesting habits.
  • Young rooks, or juveniles, don’t have the bare face patch and get it only after about six months.
  • Rooks are known to steal twigs and branches from each other when building nests.
  • In folklore, a large gathering of rooks is sometimes considered a sign of good fortune.
  • Rooks have a strong pair-bond, often staying with the same mate for life.

Rook Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Rook

Diet: Rooks will eat almost anything, including worms, grain, nuts and insects, small mammals, birds (especially eggs and nestlings) and carrion.
Bird Family: Crows
Length: 44-46cm
Wingspan: 81-99cm
Weight: 280-340g
Scientific Name: Corvus frugilegus

The Rook Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December