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Rooks in Ireland

Memeber of the Corvidae family - a Rook

The Rook is a crow and is one of Ireland's top 20 most widespread garden birds. Rooks are very sociable birds, and you're not likely to see one on its own. They feed and roost in flocks in winter, often together with Jackdaws.

A Rook's plumage is completely black with slightly purplish gloss. Around the base of the beak is bare skin. The bill and legs are black. Juvenile Rooks do not have the bare skin around the base of the bill.

Rooks are a similar size to the Hooded Crow but the latter's distinctive plumage means they could not be confused with each other. When separating Hooded Crows and Rooks in flight, Rooks has faster and deeper wingbeats.

Irish Name for Rook

The Irish word for rook is Rúcach.

Rook Feeding

Like other members of the crow family rooks are extremely adaptable when it comes to diet. They are opportunistic omnivores that will scavenge on carrion and domestic waste.

They will take eggs and chicks of other birds as well as small mammals if they can catch them.

Despite widely beliefs that Rooks and Magpies are extensive raiders of other bird species nests it far more likely that domestic cats do far more damage to Irish song bird populations.

Rooks are particularly partial to beetles and other invertebrates, as well as fruit, berries, grains and seeds when in season.

Rooks Nesting

Rook nest with egg

Rooks build untidy nests in the tops of trees quite high up. However if tall trees are not available they can be quite close to the ground.

Previous years' nests may be renovated and reused. The nest is chunky and made from twigs held together with earth, lined with moss, leaves, grass, wool, and even hair,

The female lays and incubates 40mm long eggs that are smooth, glossy and light blue, greenish-blue or green with dark spots. Both the cock and hen feed the chicks after they have hatched.

In the late winter rookeries (large gatherings of Rooks) are very active as they get ready for the coming breeding season.

Rooks are widespread and plentiful in Ireland, breeding in all areas. It is only absent from the centre of towns and uplands areas, however Rooks are rare parts of the west coast.

Interesting Facts About Rooks

The average lifespan for a Rook is six years however a single individual has been recorded at 22 years and 11 months.


Scientific Name:
Corvus frugilegus



Irish Status:

Length: 45cm Wingspan: 90cm Weight: M & F: 310g

Call: Harsh call particularly when gathered in colonies.

Habitat: Woodland, farmland, urban areas.

Diet: Omnivorous. Invertebrates, worms, carrion, birds eggs, young birds & mammals, domestic food waste, fruit, seeds.

March & April
Breeding Age:
From 2 years
Number of Eggs:
No. of Clutches:
Incubation (days):
Fledging (days):
6 years

Conservation Status in Ireland: Green

Rook Range in Ireland

The Rook is resident throughout Ireland.

Map of the range of Rooks in Ireland.

Arctic Terns in Ireland - Blue Tits in Ireland - Coal Tits in Ireland - Goldfinches in Ireland - Great Tits in Ireland - Grey Herons in Ireland - Jackdaws in Ireland - Longtailed Tits in Ireland - Magpies in Ireland - Mallards in Ireland - Mistle Thrushes in Ireland - Mute Swans in Ireland - Pheasants in Ireland - Puffins in Ireland - Robins in Ireland - Rooks in Ireland - Song Thrushes in Ireland - Starlings in Ireland - Swallows in Ireland - Swans in Tallaght - Swans Oil-Damaged - Waxwings in Ireland - Woodpigeons in Ireland - Wrens in Ireland

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