Rook

©Margaret Holland

Rook

Scientific name: Corvus frugilegus
The all-black rook is a sociable bird, so can be spotted in flocks or nesting colonies, known as 'rookeries'. Unlike the similar carrion crow, it has a grey bill and 'baggy trouser' feathers around its legs.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 45cm
Wingspan: 90cm
Weight: 310g
Average lifespan: 6 years

Conservation status

Common. Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015).

When to see

January to December

About

The rook is a large crow that makes a big nest out of twigs in the top of trees, and gathers in large colonies known as 'rookeries'; they often nest in villages and graveyards, but are also birds of farmland and grassland. The male courts the female with a display of strutting, bowing and cawing, and between three and five eggs are laid after mating. Rooks are omnivorous and feed on insects, earthworms, seeds and root crops, sometimes caching their food for later.

How to identify

The rook can be distinguished from the similar Carrion Crow by its pale bill and bare, grey bill-base, and the 'baggy trousers' of feathers around its legs.

Distribution

Widespread, but absent from the far north-west of Scotland.

Did you know?

A good way to decide if a black crow is a rook or a carrion crow is to use this simple verse: 'A rook on its own is a crow. A crow in a crowd is a rook.' This is because rooks are very sociable birds and you are not likely to spot one alone.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.