Rook (bird)

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The Rook (Corvus frugilegus) is a member of the Corvidae family in the passerine order of birds. Named by Carl Linnaeus in 1758,[2] the species name frugilegus is Latin for "food-gathering".

This species is similar in size (45–47 cm in length) to or slightly smaller than the Carrion Crow with black feathers often showing a blue or bluish-purple sheen in bright sunlight. The feathers on the head, neck and shoulders are particularly dense and silky. The legs and feet are generally black and the bill grey-black.

Rooks are distinguished from similar members of the crow family by the bare grey-white skin around the base of the adult's bill in front of the eyes. The feathering around the legs also look shaggier and laxer than the congeneric Carrion Crow. The juvenile is superficially more similar to the Crow because it lacks the bare patch at the base of the bill, but it loses the facial feathers after about six months. Collective nouns for rooks include building, parliament, clamour and storytelling.[3][4]

Contents

Distribution and habitat

Though resident in Great Britain, Ireland and much of north and central Europe, vagrant to Iceland and northern Scandinavia, it also occurs as an eastern race in Asia where it differs in being very slightly smaller on average, and having a somewhat more fully feathered face. In the north of its range the species has a tendency to move south during autumn though more southern populations are apt to range sporadically also. The species has been introduced to New Zealand, with several hundred birds being released there from 1862 to 1874, though today their range is very localised.[5] There the species is an agricultural pest and it is being eradicated.

Behaviour

Diet

Food is predominantly earthworms and insect larvae, which the bird finds by probing the ground with its strong bill. It also eats cultivated cereal grain, smaller amounts of fruit, small mammals, acorns, small birds, their eggs and young and carrion. In urban sites, human food scraps are taken from rubbish dumps and streets, usually in the early hours when it is relatively quiet. It has also been seen along the seashore, feeding on insects, crustaceans and suitable food flotsam.

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