Rook

Rook is a bird that brings warmth. That is what people have called it since ancient times, when it was first noticed that with the arrival of rooks, warming occurred in the northern regions. For this reason, the attitude towards rooks is warmer than towards other representatives of the corvid family. Rooks not only mark the arrival of the long-awaited spring, but are also very smart, quick-witted animals. You can verify this personally by studying these birds in more detail, their habits, lifestyle and natural qualities.

The origin of the species and description

Photo : Rook

Photo: Rook

Many people associate rooks with snowdrops, the bright sun, and the first running streams. Despite their rather gloomy appearance, these birds were able to win the favor of people. And all this is due to the fact that they are harbingers of the onset of spring. In addition, a huge number of other folk signs and beliefs are associated with rooks. With their help, they not only predict the weather forecast, but also plan some agricultural work.

Video: Rook

Rook belongs to the order of passeriformes, the family of corvids. This bird belongs to the genus of crows for a variety of external and behavioral signs. However, there are many differences between these birds. A rook is distinguished from an ordinary crow by a more slender physique, a thin and short beak. Rooks are pretty easy to recognize. These are completely black birds, the size of which does not exceed forty-seven centimeters. In the sun, their feathers can turn purple.

Interesting fact: Most scientists believe that the level of intelligence of a rook is almost identical to that of a chimpanzee. These birds know how to use available items to get food, just like primates.

This type of bird is characterized by resourcefulness, ingenuity. They know how to get food for themselves from the most inaccessible corners. A stick, a branch of a tree, a wire can help them in this matter. Birds do not just use objects, but can also “improve” them to achieve their goals. For example, an animal can easily build a hook out of wire to pull a piece of bread out of a narrow bottle.

Rooks make sounds that are very similar to the sounds made by ordinary ravens. However, these animals cannot be called songbirds. They have a hoarse, bassy, ​​not exactly pleasant voice.

Appearance and Features

Photo: Rook bird

Photo: Rook bird

Not every modern person can to distinguish a rook from an ordinary crow. These animals are really similar, from a distance it is easy to confuse them. However, it is not difficult to recognize a rook up close.

It has characteristic external features:

  • an adult rarely reaches a length of fifty centimeters. The average length is forty-seven centimeters, which is less than the size of a crow;
  • the plumage is pure black. Only in the sun can a bird cast purple. This is due to the fact that the bird's body secretes sebum. It lubricates the feathers, making them shiny, waterproof and dense. This feature helps these animals during the flight. Thanks to sebum, rooks quickly develop speed, endure long journeys more easily;
  • the beak of the rooks is short, thin, strong. This is an essential feature of this species of birds, distinguishing them from other representatives of corvids. In young rooks, the beak is painted in a bright shade of black. But over time, the color fades, becomes gray. This is due to the fact that animals dig a lot and often in the ground;
  • strong paws. The paws of this bird have tenacious claws, they have “panties” at the top. “Pants” are formed from small feathers;
  • developed, strong muscles. The musculature of a bird has high natural indicators. About nineteen percent of the total body weight is occupied by the flying muscles. This allows the animal to deftly move through the air, quickly pick up speed;
  • a sharp, almost thorough manner of flight. Looking at the sky, these birds are easy to distinguish from others. They fly beautifully and maneuverably. Also, their feature is the ability to quickly take off from a standstill. Crows need a short run to take off. They have to flap their large wings fast and hard to gain height.

Where does the rook live?

Photo: Black Rook

Photo: Black Rook

Rooks are very common animals. They settle wherever the climatic conditions meet their requirements and there is suitable food. These birds love a temperate climate, but tolerate heat quite easily and can exist in cold areas. Most of these animals prefer to live in central Eurasia. They are found everywhere from Scandinavia to the Pacific Ocean. Not to find rooks only in some parts of Asia.

No less large populations of rooks live in Kazakhstan, Crimea, Turkey, Georgia, Italy, France, Turkmenistan. Also, birds settle in the southern, central regions of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland. Often rooks can be found in Afghanistan, India and even Egypt. In the middle part of Russia, birds do not stay long. With the onset of cold weather, they fly away to warmer climes. Rooks are not found only in very cold regions with harsh winters.

Interesting fact: Rooks can be safely called animals of a colonial nature. Throughout their natural habitat, they are distributed quite unevenly. These birds choose only certain zones for life, often changing their habitat, migrating to different warm countries.

The largest populations of rooks can be found directly in cities, towns, villages. These are very smart animals that prefer to live closer to people – where you can always find food. They are quick-witted and always return after wintering in warmer climes at a time when the land is being plowed. During this period, birds find many beetles, larvae and other insects in the fields, rummaging in loose earth.

Despite a certain “love” for long journeys, not all rooks are migratory. Many remain at their permanent place of residence. Typically, resident rooks can be found among those that live in large cities and regions where the climate is not very severe in winter.

What does a rook eat?

Photo: Large Rook

Photo: Big Rook

An important factor affecting the survival of rooks and their large population is omnivorousness. These birds will always find something to eat, restore vitality. They eat almost everything. However, the basis of their diet is still protein food: worms, beetles, insects, various larvae. Rooks find such food underground, actively digging in it with their short but powerful beak. These birds can be seen in flocks over freshly plowed fields. At this time, it is easiest for animals to get protein food.

When searching for food in plowed fields, rooks can cause harm. Together with insects, bird larvae eat grains that have been planted by people. But this harm is significantly lower than the benefits coming from rooks. This type of bird perfectly cleans fields, agricultural lands from pests, even from field mice.

Interesting fact: The most severe enemy of farmers is the turtle bug. This insect destroys a huge amount of crops, causing significant harm. Even with a small number of turtles, the harvest is considered almost doomed. Rooks are an effective way to deal with such bedbugs. A small flock of these birds can quickly clear the field of turtles.

The daily diet of rooks also includes:

  • shellfish, small crustaceans, crabs. Birds living in forests near water bodies, rivers feed on such animals;
  • small birds, their offspring. Sometimes a flock of rooks can attack the nests of small birds;
  • small rodents. Rooks easily cope with field mice, small rats;
  • seeds, fruits, grains, vegetables, berries, fruits;
  • food waste. Rooks living in large cities prefer to eat directly in landfills and garbage dumps.

Peculiarities of character and lifestyle

Photo: Rook in winter

Photo: Rook in winter

Rooks are flocking birds. They prefer to spend time in open, free spaces. They can often be seen in agricultural fields, groves, which are located near the river bank. These birds spend a lot of time on the edges of the forest, sometimes they appear in large city parks. City rooks can spend all day directly near people. They feel good in the company of pigeons, crows and other representatives of the corvid family.

These birds build their nests on very tall trees, in whole colonies. Sometimes the number of couples settled in one place can reach a thousand. If birds settle near a large city, then its inhabitants will immediately know this, because a huge colony of rooks is very noisy. Animals constantly communicate with each other, sometimes making not very pleasant sounds. As scientists have found out, in the process of such communication, rooks can transmit very important information to each other. For example, about a place where you can profit well.

It was also empirically revealed that in each flock of rooks there is a leader. This is the most important bird. Everyone listens to her and respects her. In case of danger, it is the leader who warns the pack, and it immediately leaves the unsafe place. All the time free from building a nest, caring for offspring and getting food, rooks spend in games. They can pass sticks to each other, play with branches, shiny objects. In this way, animals increase their level of sociability.

The character of rooks cannot be called calm. These are sociable, cheerful birds, but sometimes they can be aggressive. Aggression is often shown towards their neighbors from the pack. They take food from the weak, they can get into a real fierce fight.

Social structure and reproduction

Photo: Rook on a tree

Photo: Rook on a tree

With the first warmth, with the advent of the spring sun, the rooks return from warm lands. In March, their mating season begins. At this time, the birds break into pairs and begin to actively build a house for themselves and their future babies. Construction starts around April. For these purposes, animals use dry grass, dog hair, branches, wet earth, clay, paper, and other materials at hand. Bird nests are placed in tall trees.

Interesting fact: Rooks are “family”, devoted birds. They choose a couple for themselves for life and never part with their partner. The only exception is when the partner died unexpectedly and prematurely.

The high location of the nests is due to the fact that they are quite noticeable. The nest can reach a height of seventy centimeters, so the birds have to protect it from the attack of predators, people. Bird houses are built reliable, because they can use them for more than a year. Even without being at home for a long time, the rook will always accurately find exactly its nest, where, together with its partner, it will nurse and raise new offspring.

During the summer, a rook pair usually lays eggs once. Only in rare cases there are two clutches per year. In one clutch, the number of eggs does not exceed six pieces. The eggs are very large, have a green-bluish tint. Both parents can incubate the eggs, but most often the female remains with the offspring. After three weeks, chicks begin to appear. At first, they are helpless, naked, so parents have to carefully look after their children.

The helpless chicks are looked after by the mother, and the father acts as a food provider. When the babies fledge, the female helps the male. In about a month, the young generation of rooks is ready for the first flight, and in another month – for a completely independent life.

Natural enemies of rooks

Photo: Rook

Photo: Rook

Like any other animal, rooks are often attacked by natural enemies.

Among them are the following:

  • birds of prey. Eagle owls, owls, golden eagles, and many other raptors attack rooks and almost always win in a fierce battle;
  • predatory mammals. Foxes, wolves, bears, smaller predators also often prey on these birds. However, it cannot be said that the hunt always ends successfully. Rooks are not easy prey for such predators. They are dexterous, they can take off sharply from a place and hide in the sky;
  • people. Despite the fact that rooks bring great benefits to agricultural land, they also harm them. These birds destroy fresh crops of cereals, corn, and young shoots. Such damage brings great losses to farmers. That is why people are forced to set up special traps for rooks and even shoot them. However, it is still impossible to call such an extermination of birds mass;
  • small parasites, fleas, bacteria. They cause significant damage to the health of birds, reduce the overall life expectancy, if not lead to instant death.

An interesting fact: Previously, a large number of birds were caught and killed by people in a completely different way. reasons. Rook meat was actively eaten by the poor. This dish was very popular in Germany, Ukraine.

Population and species status

Photo: Rook Bird

Photo: Rook bird

Due to the severe pollution of the environment, the massive cutting down of trees, the widespread use of pesticides in the cultivation of fields, scientists began to more carefully monitor the population level of each animal. Rooks are no exception. Fortunately, this species of birds has a wide distribution area, a consistently large population over the years. To date, the conservation status of the bird has been established: “Causing the least concern.”

Such a conservation status means that in the very near future the rooks are not in danger of disappearing from our planet. These prolific, hardy birds will for a long time be one of the most numerous of the corvid family. However, when compared with birds from other families, the rook population cannot be called huge. She is rather moderate. Natural enemies, pesticides, short life expectancy negatively affect the number of birds.

Interesting fact: Despite the rather high natural potential, rooks are not long-lived. Adults usually die at the age of four years. However, once scientists recorded an absolute record in life expectancy. In the UK, a rook was found that managed to live for about twenty-three years in the wild.

Rooks are birds that definitely deserve human attention. They are not only beautiful, but also smart. Along with its close relatives, ravens, the rook demonstrates amazing ingenuity. They can adapt various objects to achieve certain goals. There is practically no one to boast of such a level of intelligence among birds.

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