You are here


A common species often seen in large numbers in farm fields

Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

If you want to know the difference between a rook (Corvus frugilegus) and a crow then look at the beak! The rook has a distinctive 'bony' look to its beak where as the carrion crow has a totally black, smooth beak. Another noticeable difference between the two is that the rook is much more untidy in appearance and has baggy short trousers! The crow is a much more sleek creature all round.

Rooks are very gregarious and are rarely seen in small numbers. They are often found in large flocks feeding on the ground in fields and numbers are frequently boosted by the presence of their cousins, jackdaws. It is difficult to know whether the jackdaws tag along with the rooks or whether the rooks like the company of jackdaws. Whichever way, mixed flocks of well over five hundred are quite common and when they take to the sky the noise can be deafening!

By February rooks are already thinking about nesting and can be seen circling around their favoured nesting site, or rookery. Again, being social birds, they nest in colonies and I can't imaging what it is like to live near a rookery! Is there any peace with their seemingly constant raucous calls? 


Common Name Rook
Scientific Name Corvus frugilegus
Species Group Birds Corvids
Status Locally common
Interest Level
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Look for

The 'bare' or light coloured patch at the top of the beak

Identification Notes
  • Always seen in large flocks, often with jackdaws, whereas crows are much more solitary
  • A scruffier bird than the sleek carrion crow and it appears to have baggy trousers
  • Nests in colonies that are very noisy with the rooks raucous calls
Primary Habitat
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Birds Corvids