Rooks- Hebridean Birds Sightings

Western Isles Birds - Roooks - In The Western Isles - rooks argent actually all that common.

Rooks are an uncommon resident breeder - only up to around 100 pairs in Stornoway Castle Grounds.

There are recorded low numbers of winter visitors each year - probably from Scandinavia. Rooks have bare dirty white bills and steep foreheads and glossy black plumage
Rooks -  Western Isles Bird Sightings
Bird Overview - Rooks
Family
Corvidae
Latin name
Corvus frugilegus

 Population
Common UK - (uncommon - Western isles)


Similar Species
Carrion Crow
Jackdaw
Raven
Description

Rooks have bare dirty white bills and steep foreheads. They have a glossy black body with a purplish sheen and loose ragged thigh feathers - sometimes looking like "baggy trousers".

They have bare skin around the base of the bill. The legs are black. Rooks are slightly smaller than crows. In flight the wings are straight, broad and fingered at he ends.

Rooks are very sociable birds, you will never see one on its own, Rooks feed and roost in flocks in winter, often together with jackdaws.

The bill of the rook is actually more pointed than that of the Carrion Crow. Its easy to confuse the carrion crows with the rook - especially as juvenile rooks haven't got the bare skin around the base of the bill - however the purplish gloss to plumage and baggy trousers feathers should help in identifying the birds as rooks.



Size
Length - 44 - 46cm(17 1/2 ins - 18 ins ) - Weight 460 - 520g (17 - 19oz)
Habitat
Farmland and trees

Food
Rooks eat worms, beetle larvae, seeds, grain and roots from the ground and insects..

Voice
These birds have a cawing call. A loud raucous cawing with a variety of higher strangled notes - especially around its colony.

Breeding
In The Western Isles - the rooks are one of the earliest birds to nest in the spring - sometimes fitting in nest building before the end of the year and to be incubating eggs by the middle of March. They nest in colonies - known as rookeries (whilst crows actually nest singly)

The nest of the rook is built high in a tree close to other nests. The nest is made from twigs bound together with earth. It is lined with leaves, moss, grass, wool etc. Previous years' nests may be brought back to life and reused again .Immature birds pair up in the Autumn - their stick nests are placed high in the trees - and in the winter as there aren't any leaves - you will see them in the Stornoway Castle Grounds.

Rooks have only one brood a year - the chicks diet being mainly worms - they lay between 2 and 5 eggs. Although rooks partner for life - the eggs can bear the genes of more than one male - as rape is common in rookeries - and indeed promiscuity is common.Both parents feed the young rooks.

Misc. Info

In The Western Isles - rooks aren't actually all that common - - they are an uncommon resident breeder - only up to around 100 pairs in Stornoway Castle Grounds.

There are recorded low numbers of winter visitors each year - probably from Scandinavia.

Rook Folklore - It is said that rooks can forecast weather and also can sense the approach of death.

Another folk tale says that rooks are responsible for escorting the souls of the virtuous dead to heaven


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