The Rook

The Rook (Corvus frugilegus) is a member of the Crow family   the species name frugilegus is Latin for “food-gathering”.It is about 18 inches or 46 cm in length with black feathers often showing a blue or bluish-purple sheen in bright sunlight. The feathers on the head, neck and shoulders are particularly dense and silky. The legs and feet are generally black and the bill grey-black.  

Rooks are distinguished from similar members of the crow family by the bare grey-white skin around the base of the adult’s bill in front of the eyes. The feathering around the legs also look shaggier and laxer than the  Carrion Crow. The juvenile is superficially more similar to the Crow because it lacks the bare patch at the base of the bill, but it loses the facial feathers after about six months.

Very noisy communal flight displays are common and the call is usually described as “kaah”e call which has woken us up very early on many Spring mornings as they like to congregate in our oak tree in the garden!

A group of rooks is called a parliament.

Their food is predominantly earthworms and insect larvae, which the bird finds by probing the ground with its strong bill. It also eats cultivated cereal grain, smaller amounts of fruit, small mammals, acorns, and small birds, their eggs and young and carrion. In urban sites, human food scraps are taken from rubbish dumps and streets, usually in the early hours when it is relatively quiet. It has also been seen along the seashore, feeding on insects, crustaceans and suitable food flotsam.

Very noisy communal flight displays are common and the call is usually described as “kaah”e call which has woken us up very early on many Spring mornings as they like to congregate in our oak tree in the garden!

Before the leaves are out in the Spring rooks congregate in large breeding  colonies high up in the tops of trees, called a Rookery . There are many rookeries locally with at least three in this Parish. Why not look for them! Their nests stand out against a network of bare branches. They are made of branches and twig broken off trees (very rarely picked up off the ground), though as many are likely to be stolen from nearby nests as are collected from trees. Eggs are usually 3-5 in number, can appear by the end of February or early March and are incubated for 16-18 days. Both adults feed the young, which are fledged by the 32nd or 33rd day.

Very noisy communal flight displays are common and the call is usually described as “kaah”e call which has woken us up very early on many Spring mornings as they like to congregate in our oak tree in the garden!

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