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Eurasian Jackdaw - BirdForum Opus

C. m. monedula
Photo © Macswede
Stockholm, Sweden; May 2007

Alternative names: Jackdaw, Western Jackdaw

Corvus monedula

Identification

34–39 cm (13½-15¼ in)

  • Black plumage
  • Blue-black metallic sheen on back and shoulders
  • Grey nape and ear patches; paler grey in eastern subspecies
  • Pale blue-green iris
  • Short, pointed bill

Sexes similar. Juveniles have a dark iris at first, and a softer, tinged-brownish plumage without gloss.

C. m. spermologus
Photo © by the late Mahsleb
Mistley, Essex, UK; March 2014

Similar species

Immature Daurian Jackdaws look similar to this species, but more solidly black on the head.

Distribution

Found in most of Europe, patchily in northern Africa, the Middle East and western and central Asia.
Accidental vagrant to northeastern United States and Canada.
Abundant in most of its range; populations decreased in most western European countries in the past but have now mostly recovered.

Taxonomy

Subspecies

C. m. soemmerringii Pair
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Sonamarg, Alt. 9212 ft.(2808 m), Kashmir, India, June-2011

This is a polytypic species, consisting of four subspecies[1]:

  • C. m. monedula:
  • C. m. spermologus:
  • C. m. soemmerringii:
  • C. m. cirtensis:
  • Northeastern Algeria; formerly also northwestern Tunisia, that population now extinct

Habitat

Breeds in large holes in trees, or on cliffs, quarries, and buildings, also parks with open woodlands. Winters in open farmland.

Behaviour

They can form large winter roosts, often along with Rooks.

Diet

The diet includes insects, amphibians, rodents, seeds, fruits, berries, reptiles, eggs and young birds.

Breeding

C. m. spermologus
Photo © by the late Mahsleb
Mistley, Essex, May 2009

Breeding season starts in late April. Pairs stay together for several years. Usually several pairs are nesting in close proximity on rooftop chimneys, in caves and quarries. The nests are untidy stick structures. Jackdaws are the only corvids which nest in tree cavities, although they will also use crevices in cliffs and buildings. They will use long nest boxes. Lays 3-8 (average 4) eggs.

Vocalisation

Call: a ringing kyow, also chiak.

Listen in an external program

References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
  3. BF Member observations
  4. Madge, S. & Burn, H. (1994) Crows and Jays: A Guide to the Crows, Jays and Magpies of the World. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
  5. Whatbird

Recommended Citation

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