Species: Jackdaw (Coloeus monedula)

Family: Crows (CORVIDAE)

Category: Birds

Location: Widespread

A. Birds

More extensive information on birds can be found in a separate blog post.


Who could not admire the crows? They are intelligent and adaptable, some being users of tools, and they will exploit any food source, plant or animal, living or dead. They have stout beaks, are long-lived, and are generally monogamous. They may not be the world's most tuneful songsters, but their scavenging activities make them most useful in both urban and rural areas.

The number of crows seen together has various connotations in folklore depending on which part of the country the superstitions come from. Crows have long been scavengers on battlefields, and this may be the reason why their appearance elsewhere was regarded as ominous, usually portentous of death or ill luck.

C. Jackdaw (Coloeus monedula)

Jackdaws are foragers that both walk and hop. They feed on insects, fruit, seeds and carrion. The second word in their Latin name, monedula, refers to money, and the bird's supposed fascination with shiny coins.

Think of Jackdaws as being small Carrion Crows. They are the smallest member of the corvid family. That's the most obvious difference between the two birds. Another obvious difference is that whereas carrion crows are entirely black, jackdaws are grey round their necks and on the back of the head. (If the grey is a light grey, rather than a dark grey, then you are perhaps looking at a Hooded Crow.) Jackdaws also have pale-coloured eyes.

Crows are often found alone or in pairs, but jackdaws are gregarious and live in groups. Score points in this by knowing that the collective noun for the Jackdaw is a clattering of jackdaws, or a train of jackdaws!