Irish Name: Rúcach
Scientific name: Corvus frugilegus
Bird Family: Crows
Conservation status


Resident. One of Ireland's Top 20 most widespread garden birds.


A species of crow. All crows have sturdy legs and strong bills and are intelligent and social in nature. The Rook is a familiar bird, which nests in colonies in tree tops called rookeries. About the size of a Hooded Crow, the rook is all black and in certain lights can show a reddish or purple sheen to its plumage. Told apart from other species of crow by its 'trousers' the dropping feathers on its belly and the bare skin around its bill base on the adult birds. Juveniles lack this feature, which only develops in the spring of its second year, and then they can be difficult to separate from Carrion Crows (a rare breeder in Ireland); best told apart by the more peaked crown of the Rook. Often forages in the company of other crow species, especially Jackdaws. When separating Hooded Crows and Rooks in flight, Rooks has faster and deeper wingbeats, which makes it look like they are making more effort than the Hooded Crow.


A hoarse croaking call. When given in the colony can be very loud.


Feeds mainly on invertebrates. Food also includes small vertebrates, carrion, plant material and scrapes of all kinds. Found feeding in agricultural areas on pastures, fallows, occasionally in trees. Also found in town and cities feeding on


Builds a untidy nest in the tops of trees, usually quite high up, but not always can be quite close to the ground if the trees are short. In the late winter rookeries are a hive of activity as birds get ready for the coming breeding season. The species is widespread and abundant in Ireland breeding in all areas, it is only absent from the centre of towns and uplands areas. Rare or absent in parts of the west coast.


Widespread in the winter when it forms large flocks, often with Jackdaws.

Monitored by

Countryside Bird Survey & Garden Bird Survey.

Similar Species


Irish Name:
Scientific name:
Corvus monedula
Bird Family:

Hooded Crow

Irish Name:
Caróg liath
Scientific name:
Corvus cornix
Bird Family: