The rook population is increasing year by year and the birds seem to have adapted to the changes in agriculture that have affected many other species.
What do rooks look like
Birds are usually 45 47 cm long, similar in size to a crow, although sometimes a little smaller, look ruffled.
This species has black feathers that cast a blue or bluish-purple sheen in bright sunlight. The feathers on the head, neck and shoulders are especially dense and silky. The paws of the rook are black, and the beak is gray-black.
Rooks are distinguished from other similar members of the crow family by:
Despite the differences, the rook is similar to the crow, which causes some confusion. In rare cases, rooks with brown and sometimes cream plumage, pink paws and beaks are observed.
How long do birds live in nature and in captivity
The life expectancy of a rook in nature is from 15 to 20 years. The oldest documented wild rook was 22 years old. Birds in captivity live much longer, the long-lived rook lived to 69 years.
What habitats do rooks like
Rooks are traditionally considered rural and agricultural birds and inhabit areas that crows do not like, such as open farmlands. The ability to adapt to new conditions has allowed rooks to find nesting sites in parks, urban areas and gardens, especially in winter. The outskirts of cities are more preferable for them than urban centers. Rooks are rarely seen alone, and they constantly fly in flocks.
Where and how rooks build nests
Rooks nest in a colony called a rookery. Nests are built high in a tree next to other nests, and birds reuse nests from previous years. The nest of rooks is bulky. They weave it from branches, strengthen it with earth, cover the bottom with moss, leaves, grass, wool.
The female lays and incubates eggs that are smooth, shiny, light blue, greenish blue or green with dark spots. Eggs are about 40mm long and both parents feed the hatchlings.
Rooks breed in March and April, lay 3 to 9 eggs, which are then incubated for 16-20 days.
How a rook gives voice signals
The call of the rook is heard as the sound of kaah, which is similar to the voice of a crow, but the tone is muffled. Rook makes sounds in flight and sitting. When the bird sits and “talks”, it swings its tail and bows at every kaah.
In flight, rooks tend to make calls individually, unlike crows, which call in groups of three or four birds. Solitary birds often “sing”, apparently for themselves, make strange clicks, wheezing and human-like sounds.
What do rooks eat
Birds are omnivorous, rooks eat everything that gets into the beak, but prefer live food.
Like other corvids, rooks in urban or suburban areas choose places where humans leave food debris. Birds circle around trash and food in parks and city centers. Rooks visit bird feeders, eat what people leave for birds grains, fruits and bread.
The diet of rooks in rural areas, like most crows, is varied and includes insects, worms, carrion and seeds. Rooks also feed on earthworms and insect larvae, and scour the ground for food with their strong beaks.
When hungry, rooks attack vegetable gardens and orchards, eat crops. Birds have learned to hide food, use stocks, if farmers put up a scarecrow or the ground is frozen, it is difficult to find live food.
Other references to the rook on our website:
- city birds
- Birds of the middle zone of Eurasia
- Animals of the Urals