Daws have been living in close proximity to humans for hundreds of years. These friendly, curious, cute birds can often be seen in the company of rural and city pigeons. They feed peacefully with many other bird species, are highly intelligent, and even tameable. The jackdaw deserves more human attention.

Origin of the species and description

Photo: Jackdaw

Photo: Jackdaw

The Jackdaw is the closest relative of the Rooks, crow. However, it has a significant difference from them – small size. It is jackdaws that are the smallest representatives of a large family of corvids. Previously, such birds were attributed to the genus of crows, but today they are usually considered birds of the genus Coloeus.

Video: Jackdaw

According to many experts, the jackdaw owes its name to the bright black plumage. After all, the word “jackdaw” comes from the word “black”. Previously, various birds were called this word, whose plumage had a pronounced black tint. However, not everyone agrees with this interpretation. Some argue that this bird was named so because of its onomatopoeic origin.

Interesting fact: Jackdaws, although small, are very intelligent birds. Scientists have found that they can follow and understand the human gaze. In particular, they easily decipher the pointing gaze. Only in one direction can the birds find the food that man has prepared for them. Scientists explain this skill by the innate qualities of the animal.

The jackdaw is quite difficult not to recognize. It is small, has black plumage with dark gray patches. Wings and tail have a very shiny surface. You can also recognize the bird by its characteristic cry: “kai”. These animals rarely spend time alone. Most often they are found together with city pigeons or adjoin large flocks of other representatives of public birds: starlings, crows, rooks.

Jackdaws have attracted the attention of people since ancient times. This was due to their unusual habits and natural qualities. They preferred to live in close proximity to human settlements, were very drawn to various shiny objects, and tried to communicate with people in their own way. However, earlier people did not feel the proper tenderness from this. The jackdaws were treated very wary. These animals were credited with a connection with the underworld, they were considered harbingers of something bad.

Appearance and features

Photo: Jackdaw bird

Photo: Jackdaw bird

Jaws have characteristic external features :

  • have small dimensions. The length of the animal does not exceed thirty-nine centimeters, and the mass is two hundred and sixty grams;
  • the feathered beak is very short, stocky. In most individuals, it is completely covered with stiff bristles. It is meant for rough “work”;
  • the shape of the body is streamlined, the wings are strong, the tail has good plumage (has a slightly rounded shape). The wingspan can reach seventy-four centimeters. All these parameters make jackdaws amazing “pilots”. These birds are characterized by maneuverable, fast and energy-saving flight. During long journeys, they fly due to rare but strong strokes. This makes them more resilient;
  • the main color of the jackdaws is black. However, dark gray feathers are visible in some places. The tail and the first feathers on the wings characteristically shine in the sun;
    these representatives of corvids have very beautiful eyes, which tend to change their color throughout life. The eyes of the chicks are blue, in adults they are light gray, and then they can turn completely white.

Interesting fact: It is extremely difficult to distinguish a male jackdaw from a female jackdaw. Sex differences are difficult to grasp even by experts. However, with age, gender differences become more pronounced. So, the male in old age loses the luster of plumage. On the back of the head, neck, the feathers become dull. Females retain their brilliance until death.

A characteristic feature of jackdaws, like many other corvids, is an excellent memory and high intellectual abilities. They develop quickly, they think well. Such abilities were noticed by people a long time ago, so more and more often these birds are kept at home.

So we figured out what a jackdaw looks like. Now let's find out where the jackdaw lives.

Where does the jackdaw live?

Photo: Black Jackdaw

Photo: Black Jackdaw

Jackdaws are very common animals. They are migratory birds, so they often change their habitat depending on the climate. The natural habitat includes North Africa, Western Asia, and Europe. In East Asia, common jackdaws do not live. Instead, the Daurian jackdaws, which are their closest relatives, inhabit the east. Daurian jackdaws are very similar to common jackdaws. They have a similar appearance, almost identical voice.

The most common jackdaws inhabit Europe. Only in the territory of several regions of such birds can not be found. They are not in Finland, Scandinavia, on some islands of the Mediterranean Sea. Jackdaw is widely represented in Ukraine, Russia. This bird lives in China, Syria, Iraq, Iran, but not everywhere.

Migratory are jackdaws, living only in the north and east of the natural habitat. With the onset of cold weather, they move to the southern regions every year. Only older birds do not fly away for wintering. They usually stay in nesting areas. The decisive factor in this case is the presence or absence of suitable food. If there is little or no food at all, then old individuals simply fly closer to people. Birds that live in France, England, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands also lead a sedentary lifestyle.

What does a jackdaw eat?

Photo : Jackdaw

Photo: Jackdaw

The jackdaw is a hardy, omnivorous bird that can adapt to almost any living conditions. This also applies to food.

The diet of such an animal includes:

  • almost all varieties of small and medium-sized insects, earthworms, larvae, eggs of other birds, young chicks. It is extremely rare for jackdaws to eat carrion, although other members of their family are very often seen eating carrion;
  • grains of many agricultural crops, seeds of different types of grasses, berries, acorns, peas;
  • food waste. Jackdaws have long lived in close proximity to people, so they got used to getting food for themselves in garbage dumps, landfills.

The ratio of animal and plant food throughout the life of birds changes. So, chicks eat mostly animal food. Protein allows young individuals to gain strength faster. Plant foods account for no more than twenty percent of the total diet of young animals. As they grow older, the amount of animal food decreases significantly. Adults prefer plants, seeds, crops.

Daws are often kept at home. When domesticating, it is important to properly feed the animal so that it does not get sick and can live as long as possible. The diet of homemade jackdaws should include: small pieces of white bread, earthworms, chicken and young beef meat, various insects, grated carrots, cottage cheese, apple, pear, watermelon.

All food must be moistened with water. It is absolutely impossible to feed a bird with sour berries, fruits or vegetables. This can lead to the death of the animal. Also, a grain mixture must be included in the diet of adult domesticated jackdaws. Oats, wheat, corn are added to it.

Peculiarities of character and lifestyle

Photo: Jackdaw in the city

Photo: Jackdaw in the city

The lifestyle of jackdaws is measured. These birds spend the whole day in business: looking for food, taking care of their offspring, building nests. In their free time, they prefer to walk in noisy bird companies. They love to spend time with pigeons, crows, rooks, and other types of birds. During the day, jackdaws fly a lot. Their flights are decisive, maneuverable. They can fly several kilometers in search of delicious food.

Daws are sociable birds. They prefer to live close to people in order to communicate with them daily. For this reason, most adults build their nests in human homes that have been abandoned or dilapidated. This placement also allows you to solve the problem with food. Animals can eat grains in feeders or, in extreme cases, find food in garbage dumps.

Interesting fact: Jackdaw is an animal with a phenomenal memory. They easily remember people's faces. So, adults can recognize a person who once harmed their nest. Having recognized the offender, the animals begin to emit a frantic cry. This cry serves as a warning signal to the rest of the pack.

Some jackdaws prefer to live in the forest. For nesting, they choose hollows and old trees. Jackdaws are family birds. They live in pairs almost all their lives. Pairs join packs. Only during nesting birds spend time separately from the main flock. All day long, jackdaws try to spend time together, especially if there is a lot of free space.

The nature of jackdaws in most cases is peaceful. They easily make contact with other animals and people. A person, if desired, can tame a bird to his hands. However, sometimes jackdaws are quite aggressive. Most often, these animals show aggression inside the nesting colony. Often there are skirmishes between birds, fierce fights.

Social structure and reproduction

Photo: Jackdaw Bird

Photo: Jackdaw bird

Jackdaws are family birds. They find a mate and live together all their lives. These animals never part. The only exception is the death of one of the partners. The nesting period for these representatives of corvids begins in March. At this time, all couples leave their flocks, settle in nests. During nesting, the behavior of animals is very touching. The male constantly takes care of his chosen one: he protects her, feeds her.

In mid-spring, the animals begin to build nests. They collect suitable material in the forest, on the banks of the rivers. Various twigs, lumps of earth or horse manure, dog hair, grass, scraps of paper are suitable for the nest of jackdaws. In May, the couple already have eggs. The clutch usually contains no more than six eggs. The eggs of these birds are small, have a gray-bluish color.

The female usually incubates future offspring. At this time, the male obtains food for the whole family, carefully cares for the female. The incubation period usually does not take more than nineteen days. After this time, chicks begin to appear. They hatch completely helpless. They have absolutely no feathers, no eyesight. However, the chicks develop very quickly. Parents take care of them for less than a month. This is quite enough for the birds to grow up. After the male and female begin to wean the young from the habit of asking for food. Now the chicks can start to get their own food.

Young jackdaws are fully prepared for independent life by the time they leave their parental home. The only problem is the lack of flight skills. At first, these birds only walk, jump. During this period, animals become easy prey for predators, children, and pets. Of all the chicks, only a small number survive.

Natural enemies of jackdaws

Photo: Large Jackdaw

Photo: Large Jackdaw

Galka is not easy prey. This nimble, fast bird can easily hide from the enemy in the air, hide in a crack or cave, which is possible due to their small size. However, jackdaws, no less than other birds, become victims of natural enemies.

Among them, it is worth highlighting the following:

  • birds of prey. Feathered predators often attack small birds of various species, and jackdaws are no exception. Eagle owls, hawks, golden eagles carry danger in themselves;
  • crows. They also often attack members of their own family. But most often they are engaged in ruining their nests and killing chicks;
  • squirrels. These small animals also destroy the nests of jackdaws when they are left unattended;
  • pets. Cats and dogs eat young animals that have not yet learned to fly. This happens with chicks whose nests are located close to people's dwellings;
  • predatory animals. Jackdaws living in the forest often become victims of foxes, wolves, and other predators;
  • parasitic microorganisms, fleas, some insects, beetles.

This group of animals does not immediately lead to the death of birds and their chicks, with rare exceptions. However, they significantly undermine their health, which ultimately significantly reduces the life span of jackdaws.

Population and species status

Photo: Jackdaw on a stick

Photo: Jackdaw

Jackdaws throughout the entire period of their existence have a rather unstable population in their natural habitat. This is due to many factors. First, these birds are migratory. The size of their population in certain areas is constantly changing within one year. Secondly, earlier these birds were subjected to severe persecution by people and were destroyed. In the sixteenth century, due to destruction, the species was not numerous.

The mass destruction of jackdaws in the sixteenth century was due to the fact that these birds, along with their closest relatives, were officially recognized as pests. They really caused great damage to agricultural land, so farmers and farmers were allowed to destroy them. This had a huge impact on the size of the jackdaw population, but did not lead to their extinction.

Interesting fact: The average life expectancy of jackdaws is only eight years. Only at home can a bird live longer – about twelve years.

Over time, attitudes towards jackdaws have changed dramatically. People found other ways to deal with them, so the mass extermination of birds stopped. Jackdaws, due to their high survival in difficult conditions and fertility, were able to quickly make up for losses, completely restore the population on the territory of the entire natural habitat. Today, the population is about ninety million individuals. Most of the birds are settled in Europe. Jackdaws have a stable population and cause the least concern among scientists.

The Jackdaw is one of the most quick-witted, intelligent birds with a phenomenal memory. These animals are able to recognize a person, recognize his gaze and understand some commands. Jackdaws are sociable not only with people, but also with other birds. They easily get along with crows, pigeons, rooks.

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