Corvus frugilegus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 156 (1766) ; Naum. ii. p. 78, Taf. 55 ; Hewitson, i p. 226, pl. lix ; Gould, B. of E. iii. pl. 224 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iii. pl. 60 ; Newton, ii. p. 289 ; Dresser, iv. p. 551, pl. 264 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. iii. p. 9 ; Oates, F. Brit. Ind. Birds, i. p. 18 ; Saunders, p. 247 ; Lilford, ii. p. 49, pl. 22.
Corbeau-Freux, French ; Gralha, Portug. ; Corneja calva, Chaya. Span. ; Gorvo, Corvo-nero, Ital. ; Saatkrahe, Germ. ; Roek, Dutch ; Kornkrage, Dan. ; Blaakraake, Norw. ;Raka, Swed. ; Pieni-Korppi, Finn. ; Grach, Russ.
Male ad. (England). Deep black, the head, neck, and under parts glossed with bluish purple, the upper parts with violet-purple ; base of the bill, space round the eye and chin denuded of feathers ; bill and legs black ; iris blackish brown. Culmen 2.35, wing 12.75, tail 6.6, tarsus 2.15 inch Sexes alike. The young bird is duller in colour, and has the base of the bill scantily covered with loose feathers.
Hab. The whole of Europe from about 60o N. Lat, in summer, down to the Mediterranean in winter ; Northern Africa ; Asia as far east as Kashmir and the Punjab.
Essentially gregarious in its habits, the Rook is always seen in large or small flocks and frequents the fields where it follows the plough to pick up worms and insects which have been exposed. It also feeds on shell-fish and fish that have been cast up on the seashore, acorns, beechnuts and fruit, and it is particularly fond of walnuts ; grain it also eats and will feed on carrion. The note is a somewhat harsh caw subject to considerable modulation especially during the pairing season.
Rooks nest in colonies, often of large size, placing their nests on tolerably high trees, and usually commence nidification in March. The nest is bulky, constructed of sticks and lined with fine roots, wool, straw, &c., and the eggs, 4 to 5 or 6 in number, resemble those of the Carrion Crow, but are as a rule somewhat smaller, averaging about 1.52 by 1.12, and are subject to considerable variation in colour and markings.
608. Corvus frugilegus