Jackdaw

Corvus monedula

33-34cm

Appearance

The Jackdaw is mostly black, with a hint of dark-grey in the plumage, and a subtle purple iridescence on the back and head. The eye is grey, the legs black, the bill short, and there’s a grey hood. Sexes resemble one another, but the colouring of the male’s hood is less distinct. Juveniles are browner than adults, and the hood is less obvious.

Habitat

The Jackdaw’s habitat is varied, including woods, farms, parks, cliffs by the sea, and in towns. Regularly found feeding on arable land alongside livestock or scavenging on strandlines.

Character

Most commonly seen in pairs, and the pairs remain together even after joining flocks of other species. The Jackdaw is nimble in the air, with aerobatic twists and dives around cliffs. Stores food when in excess, and roosts communally.

Food

Diet includes invertebrates, young birds, grain, seeds, fruits and eggs. As a scavenger, the Jackdaw is a flexible eater, and may also be attracted by bird feeders.

Breeding

Nests in caves or crevices. Female lays 4 or 5 eggs which she incubates for 18-20 days. Male and female tend to the young, which depart the nest at about 30-33 days, but continue to finesse their flying skills.

Population

Many Jackdaws are resident birds of the region, however there is also a visiting European population which arrives in autumn. Resident birds don’t travel far, and usually only travel to avoid the weather of upland areas leading up to winter. Approximately 1.4 million pairs live in the UK and 100 000-250 000 in Ireland.

Observation Tips

The grey hood is a handy indicator of this species, though they shouldn’t be hard to find. To view them as they tumble and soar around sea cliffs is a stunning show. Some birds become quite tolerant of humans in populated areas.

Voice

Has a ‘chack’ call, and a louder ‘ke-ow’.
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