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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Crows/Corvidae

Rook/Corvus frugilegus - Adult

L 41-49 cm, WS 81-94 cm. Breeds in colonies (rookeries) in agricultural areas. Builds loose stick nests close together in crowns of tree clumps near farms and in villages; in spring, before trees in leaf, nests look like large witches’ brooms. Forages in flocks on ploughed fields, on pasture and along ditchsides, often accompanied by Jackdaws. Relatively bold where not persecuted. Omnivore, but takes mostly insects and earthworms. Migratory in far NE.
IDENTIFICATION: Size of Hooded/Carrion Crow (and often misconstrued as one), with all-black plumage which from certain angles shows reddishlilac gloss. Adult told by bare greyish-white skin around bill-base and lack of nostril feathering, but usually also has a different profile from Carrion Crow, with flat forehead, peaked crown and ‘short nape’, flattened breast and ample belly (ruffled, drooping belly-feathers). Bare bill-base develops Feb-May of 2nd calendar-year; up to then immatures are very like Carrion Crow, but at close range told by somewhat different bill shape with straighter culmen and more pointed tip, also usually by calls. Experienced observers may be able to tell that Rook has slightly more flexible, faster and deeper wingbeats, plus more rounded, almost wedge-shaped tail-tip and on average somewhat longer ‘hand’ and narrower wing-tip (subtle!).
VOICE: Hoarse, nasal, noisy croaks without open rolling r-sound of Carrion Crows, more grinding and irascible ‘geaah’, ‘geeeh’, ‘gra gra grah ...’ and the like. Noise from a rookery at nest-building and mating time can be deafening.

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