A member of the crow family (corvids), the rook is around 18 inches long with a dense black plumage that has a blue or purple iridescence. Unlike the crow or raven, the beak of the rook is light grey with a dark grey tip. They have a loud, flat call.

natural scavengers

Rooks are most common in the UK and other areas of north and central Europe and tend to favour wide, open spaces.

They will ordinarily nest in the very tops of trees in large nests built from twigs snapped off from branches. They will also steal materials from the nearby nests of other birds.

The rook’s breeding period begins in early March and each pair will lay a clutch of between 3 and 5 eggs. The eggs are then incubated for 16-18 days and the newly hatched birds will fledge after about a month.

Rooks are very sociable birds and will rarely be spotted alone. In fact, their flocks can number well into the thousands, though they will always nest with their bonded mate. Due to the noise produced by rooks, these large groups can prove very bothersome to nearby humans.

Though they are generally more tolerant of other species feeding with them, their imposing size means that they often displace other birds, much to the irritation of bird-watchers.

Rooks are natural scavengers, tending to be less aggressive than the other corvids and therefore not as destructive. They are also very intelligent and have been observed using tools to solve problems.

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  • Are rooks protected in the UK?

    Rooks are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 which prevents intentional taking, injury or killing of these birds, but control is possible in certain circumstances under General Licences, to protect crops, livestock, to preserve air safety , public health and conservaing other wild birds.

  • Why are Rooks a pest?

    They do a lot of damage to certain crops and can be disruptive.

  • Do rooks use the same nest each year?

    Sometimes, a rookery is normally built in tall trees and nests are occasionally reused.

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