Animals

Rook (Bird) Facts

Rook facts about the oldest bird species that belongs to the crow family.
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Crows are usually less a discussed bird species as they are not cute as other preferable pets. But, you would have read about crows in many bedtime stories in your childhood. So, let's learn about a bird that belongs to the crow family, i.e. the Rook.

The Rook (scientific name Corvus frugilegus) is the old bird species of the crow family, Corvidae. The Rook is characterized by black feathers that shine blue or bluish-purple sheen in bright sunlight, black legs and feet, dense and silky feathers on the head and neck, and the bill in front of the eyes have bare gray-white skin around its base. Their strong bill supports them probing the ground to feed on earthworms and insects. They are primarily found in Europe and Asia, specifically in Finland, Ireland, Russia, the Republic of Korea, China, Mongolia, Egypt, and Syria. The eastern species of rooks are slightly smaller on average than their western species.

This article will take you through different facts about the Rook. If you would love to know more about birds, you may also consider looking into our articles on the carrion crow and the peregrine falcon.

Rook (Bird)

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Cereal grains, fruits, voles, earthworms, insects, beetles, spiders, snails, and the eggs of ground-nesting birds

What do they eat?

Omnivore

Average litter size?

3-5 eggs

How much do they weigh?

9.9-12.0 oz (280-340 g)

How long are they?

17-18 in (44-46 cm)

How tall are they?

N/A

What do they look like?

Black

Skin Type

Feathers

What are their main threats?

Humans, owls, hawks

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Tall trees

Locations

Europe and Asia

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Aves

Scientific Name

Corvus frugilegus

Family

Corvidae

Genus

Corvus

Rook Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a rook?

A Rook is a bird that belongs to C. frugilegus species.

What class of animal does a rook belong to?

Rooks belong to Aves class of animals.

How many rooks are there in the world?

The global population of the Rooks is significant, and it is estimated to be around 20-35 million in Europe alone.

Where does a rook live?

Rook prefers tall trees for breeding and nesting. They also live near agricultural farms and seashores where they find a good amount of food.

What is a rook's habitat?

The most commonly known Rook habitat is open lands with scattered trees and forest steppes. Rooks adapt well to environmental changes. In winter, the Rooks move from north to south to avoid extreme cold conditions.  They usually travel together with other Rooks or another crow species, Jackdaws, in winter.

Who do rooks live with?

Rooks are social birds as they prefer to move in large groups. They arrange their nests as colonies, and their nesting behavior has got the term rookery.

How long does a rook live?

The average lifespan of a Rook is nearly six years.

How do they reproduce?

The male and female Rooks participate in building their nests before breeding. At the time of breeding, females lay three to five eggs in the nests by the end of March or early April. The eggs measure 1.6 in by 1.1 in size-wise. The color of eggs is bluish-green to greyish-green but is mainly concealed by a thick covering of ash gray and brown. The males will be feeding the females till the hatching of eggs is complete. The hatching period of Rooks is known to be 16-18 days. After the hatching is complete, both the adults will be feeding the juvenile until it becomes independent. Usually, the juveniles become independent on the 32nd or 33rd day after the hatching period.

What is their conservation status?

As per the International Union for Conservation and Nature classification, the conservation status of Rooks is Least Concern.

Rook Fun Facts

What do rooks look like?

Rooks have a close resemblance with the Carrion crow and are characterized by complete black plumage. Adult Rooks are differentiated from the crow family by the skin color around the bottom of the bill, i.e. a bare gray-white skin. In contrast to a Carrion crow, the feathering around the legs of a Rook appears fuzzy and relaxed. The juvenile Rook appears more similar to a crow as it does not have the bare patch at the bottom of the bill and a fully feathered face.

Juvenile Rooks face fully covered with black facial feathers, and it takes around six months for them to get rid of these facial feathers.

How cute are they?

Rooks are not as cute as the other preferred bird pets. This species is heavily weighed down by symbolism and myth.

How do they communicate?

Rooks are known to communicate with other Rooks by making different sounds, usually referred to as call, based on the situations. The Rook bird call is described as 'kaah' or 'caw' and is more similar to a Carrion crow call but less harsh and loud with variable pitch. It usually gives calls both in flight and while in rest. A single Rook gives a call in flight, whereas a Carrion crow gives a call in groups of three or four. The Rook swings its tail and bows while making each caw in a resting position. They make other sounds like a high-pitched squawk, a semi-chirruping call, and a burring sound around the rookery.

How big is a rook?

An adult Rook grows 17-18 in long with a 32-39 in wingspan. The Rooks are slightly smaller in size and wingspan than the Carrion crow.

How fast can a rook fly?

There is less information available on the speeds of Rooks. The studies on these Rooks tell that they move at speeds of 32-45 mph during migration.

How much does a rook weigh?

Rooks weigh less than the Carrion crows, and are in the 9.9-12 oz range.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male and female Rooks do not have specific names based on gender. They are usually called male rooks and female Rooks.

What would you call a baby rook?

The baby of a Rook is referred to as a brancher. You can refer to it as a young Rook or a juvenile. You can also refer to it as hatchling as it takes birth from eggs hatching.

What do they eat?

A Rook is considered to be an omnivore, i.e. it eats both vegetable foods as well as small animals. The Rook diet mainly includes cereal grains, fruits, voles, earthworms, insects, beetles, spiders, snails, and ground-nesting birds' eggs. It also eats young Carrion crow occasionally. Its strong bill helps in exploring the prey on the ground.

Are they friendly?

The nesting behavior of Rooks tells us that they are mostly friendly with other Rooks.

Would they make a good pet?

There is not enough information available on the rooks being domesticated as pets. Based on their habitat preferences, you can presume that they cannot be domesticated as pets in the human habitat.

Did you know...

Nesting behavior in Rooks is colonial, and they often build nests on remnants of the previous year's nest. A Rook builds a nest on small trees or bushes in hilly areas. Its nest is cup-shaped, composed of sticks, small twigs, and branches that are broken off trees and lined with grass, dead leaves, and roots. Both the adults take part in nest-building, with the males finding the necessary materials while the females arrange them in the nest. They use the nest for breeding. Bill twinning is usually considered as the affiliative behavior shown by the Rooks.

The primary threat to the Rooks is humans. Rookeries were regarded as nuisances in Britain, and they practice holding Rook shoots where humans shot the young birds before they try to fly. These events are considered social, and a source of food as the Rook is a great delicacy.

Are rooks intelligent?

Rooks are considered intelligent like other corvids, and the research about this species tells us that they are capable of solving complex ecological and social problems.

What does the rook bird symbolize?

Like the raven, death and misery are considered the Rook bird symbolism. A rookery near a house is considered unlucky.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the robin, or shrike.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our bird coloring pages.

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