Aye Aye There!

Rook  (Corvus frugilegus)

This young adult Rook appeared to be scrutinising me from atop the roof, but maybe it just had an itch it needed to scratch.

Rooks are large black birds belonging to the crow family. They have black glossy feathers, a rounded tail, loose and ragged thigh feathers, a peaked crown, bare white skin around bill base, and a beak which tapers to a point. These distinguishing features help to identify it from similar crows like the Carrion Crow (Corvus corone), Jackdaw (Corvus monedula), and the Raven (Corvus corax). The juvenile has a dark face at first, and a thin bill. It can grow up 46cm long.

It feeds on worms, beetle larvae, seeds, grain and roots from the ground. It also forages for insects and roadkill. It is a very social bird and builds its nests in large colonies called rookeries. They are constructed from big sticks lined with grass, moss and leaves. The female lays 3-6 eggs in 1 brood from March to June. They can live for up to 10 years.

It is seen all year round. The Rook is a familiar part of the rural landscape, and is typically found in farmland and villages where there are tall scattered trees for it to nest. It is also quite a noisy bird with its loud, raucous call, especially within the colony. It is common and widespread throughout the United Kingdom, except where they are absent from the far north-west of Scotland.

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