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Interesting facts about the common rook

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We found 16 interesting facts about the common rook

Corvus frugilegus

Despite the inglorious history of relationships between humans and rooks, these birds still retain their sociable character and are not afraid of humans. With proper feeding, they acclimatize even better and can approach people at very short distances. They are very intelligent, able to solve puzzles, use and modify tools, and cooperate with each other when more serious problems arise.

In the past, farmers blamed these birds for destroying their crops and tried to drive them away or kill them. The rulers even issued decrees ordering the extermination of both rooks and other corvids.


The rook belongs to the corvid family.

There are two subspecies of rook: the common rook, found in our country, and the Siberian rook, found in East Asia. The corvid family includes 133 species, found on every continent except Antarctica.


Lives in Europe, central and southern Russia.

Winters in southern Europe in Iraq and Egypt. The Siberian subspecies inhabits East Asia and winters in southeastern China and Taiwan.


They feel best in wooded areas, although they are well adapted to urban conditions.

They live in parks and groves in meadows. In cities, they like to sit on tall buildings and even nest on them during the breeding season.


They are medium-sized birds, with adult body lengths ranging from 44 to 46 cm.

The wingspan of rooks is from 81 to 99 cm, weight is from 280 to 340 g. Males and females of rooks are similar in size.


The body of rooks is covered with black feathers, which in the sun become iridescent blue or blue-violet shades.

The legs are black, the beak is black-gray, the iris is dark brown. Adults lose the feathers at the base of the beak, leaving the skin bare.


Juveniles are black with a slight greenish tint, except for the back of the neck, back and undertail, which are brownish-black.

They resemble young crows because the strip of feathers at the base of their beaks has not yet worn off. The young lose the feather cover at the base of the beak in the sixth month of life.


Rooks are omnivores; studies show that 60% of their diet consists of plant foods.

Plant foods are mainly cereals, root vegetables, potatoes, fruits and seeds. Animal food consists mainly of earthworms and insect larvae, although rooks can also hunt small mammals, birds and eggs. Feeding occurs mainly on the ground, where the birds walk and sometimes jump and explore the soil, digging into it with their massive beaks.


When there is a lack of food, rooks also feed on carrion.


Like most corvids, rooks are very intelligent animals.

They know how to use found objects as tools. When a task requires a lot of effort, rooks may cooperate as a group.


Males and females mate for life, and pairs stay together to form herds.

In the evening, birds often gather and then move to a general roosting site of their choice. In the fall, the herds increase in size as different groups gather together. In the company of rooks you can also find jackdaws.


The breeding season of rooks lasts from March to April. In the vast majority of cases, they nest in groups.

Nests are usually built in the tops of large, spreading trees and, in urban areas, on buildings. There can be from several to several dozen nests on one tree. They are made of rods and sticks, held together with clay and clay, and covered with all available soft materials - grass, hair, fur.


In a clutch, the female lays 4 to 5 eggs.

The average size of the eggs is 40 x 29 mm, they are greenish-blue in color with brown and yellow speckles and have a marbled texture. Incubation begins from the moment the first egg is laid and lasts from 18 to 19 days.


The chicks remain in the nest for 4 to 5 weeks.

During this time, both parents feed them.


The average lifespan of rooks in the wild is six years.

The record holder among these birds was 23 years and 9 months old.


The population of rooks in Europe is estimated to be between 16,3 and 28,4 million.

The Polish population ranges from 366 to 444 thousand animals, and in 2007-2018 their population decreased by as much as 41%.


This is not an endangered species.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the common rook as a species of least concern. In Poland, these birds are under strict species protection in the administrative districts of cities and partial species protection outside them. In 2020 they were listed in the Polish Red Book of Birds as a vulnerable species.

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