Tuesday, 4 November 2014

WILD BIRD WEDNESDAY - Jackdaw

The Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) is a lively, diminutive member of the crow family.  It appears to have totally dark plumage from a distance, but on closer inspection it can be seen that it is dark grey in colour with a lighter grey nape and sides of the neck.  The beak is short and slender, the eyes are a unique pale blue, and it walks with a quick 'jaunty' step , all of which allow this bird to be distinguished from the Carrion and Hooded crows or the Rook.


Males, females and juveniles are similar in appearance.  The name 'daw' for this bird has been used since the 15th century; it is probably imitative of the call, but also means 'simpleton'. 'Jack' is often used for small animals, and, like knave, means rogue, yet it may also be derived from another call, 'tchack' which is a high-pitched, metallic sounding which might account for the ‘jack’ in their name. 


The Jackdaw is a highly sociable species outside of the breeding season, occurring in flocks that can contain hundreds of birds.  Within flocks there is a strict hierarchy, with a head bird. Occasionally the flock makes 'mercy killings', in which a sick or injured bird is mobbed until it is killed.


The Jackdaw typically feeds on the ground, taking insects and insect larvae, young birds, fruit and acorns. This is a playful species, performing aerobatics such as turning over in strong winds and diving; occasionally entire flocks may perform such displays at the same time.


Males and females pair up in their first year of life, but they do not begin to breed for another year; the pair remains closely tied for life.  Nests are usually constructed in some type of crevice, the pair drops sticks into the crevice until some become lodged; the nest is then built on this platform.  This behaviour has often led to chimneys being blocked and even nests, with the Jackdaw present, crashing down into fireplaces.  The pair defend their nest vigorously against intruding Jackdaws.


Four to six greenish-blue eggs are laid and incubated for up to 17 days by the female.  Both parents feed the chicks for around 30 days.


A special name for a jackdaw flock is a "clattering”.


This bird is smaller than both the Rook and the Carrion crow, and is a renowned thief.



Typical Lifespan: 5 years

 Maximum recorded age of a ringed bird - actual age may be greater Maximum Recorded Age: 17 years 0 months 22 days (set in 1980).

Although this is a common bird, I still love watching and photographing them and I hope you enjoyed this post.

I am linking this post with WILD BIRD WEDNESDAY.

Many thanks for visiting.

Many thanks for comments left on my post.

30 comments:

  1. That blue eyed stare is very intense!

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  2. These are good birds - and they really on not just one colour. I loved hearing their voices when I was back in the UK this year.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  3. A very entertaining bird except when it decides to rip my windscreen wipers to bits.

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  4. Such a beautiful (and intelligent) bird. Thank you.

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  5. We are lucky to have them around the house all year. They keep the Collared Doves in order!

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  6. Great birds, and full of character.

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  7. Pretty bird, Margaret! I love it's eyes.. Great post and photos.. Have a happy day!

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  8. These are excellent photos, and I enjoyed them and the information very much. I especially like the "clattering" name for the flock as I imagine it is a very apt description. Thank you for sharing!

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  9. they're just beautiful - and fascinating!

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  10. A very commanding and beautiful proud bird!

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  11. all of your photos are wonderful but today these took my breath away, fabulous shots, he is such a gorgeous bird especially with the green background! I didn't know about 'clattering'.

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  12. Oh yes, I love 'em, They can be so funny at times. Excellent photos.

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  13. Wonderful photos, Margaret! I love watching the jackdaws.

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  14. A great series of photos - the sheen on the feathers is especially beautiful.

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  15. Wonderful pictures Margaret of my favourite Corvid. They have real character.

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  16. Magnificent photos of the Jackdaw Margaret. The lighting shows up all the lovely sheen on their feathers.

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  17. I love the Corvus of all types and so enjoyed your post today! Your photos of the jackdaw are special!!

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  18. Really a gorgeous bird ! And your pictures are wonderful !

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  19. Thanks for the great pics and natural history lesson!
    ~

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  20. Stunning images. Thanks for sharing. It's great to catchup on nature photography during the work week for us weekend photographers this is almost as good. Ivan Cordero WildAtPalmas.com

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  21. Amazing image. Thanks for sharing. Ivan Cordero WildAtPalmas.com

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  22. Another new bird to see. I have never heard of Jackdaw. Great shots!

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  23. This bird has stunning coloration,yet so subtle.

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  24. I don't think there are any around here. Wow, a bird species that practices euthanasia!! That is an entirely new thought for me. They must be very smart.

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  25. Your description of the mercy killings made me shudder.

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  26. We have an antique litho of that includes a jackdaw. The artist tried to capture the gray nape. But he didn't capture the 'tude that your pictures show.

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  27. Wonderful close ups Margaret!
    Mercy killings - oh my. I guess that speaks to that menacing look. :)
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I'm looking forward to being back in the blogging community.

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  28. we have it and it is a very clever and smart bird.

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