Measuring 34-39 cm(13-15 in) long, the European Jackdaw is the second smallest member of the genus Corvus. Most of the plumage is a shiny black, with a purple or blue sheen on the crown, forehead, and secondaries, and a green-blue sheen on the throat, primaries, and tail. The cheeks, nape and neck are light grey to greyish-silver, and the underparts are slate-grey. The legs are black, as is the short stout bill. The sexes look alike, though the head and neck plumage of male birds fades more with age and wear,

Habitat and Distribution

They are found from north-west Africa through all of Europe, except for the extreme north, and eastwards through central Asia to the eastern Himalayas and Lake Baikal. To the east, they occur in Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and north-west India. These birds inhabit wooded steppes, pastures, cultivated land, coastal cliffs, and towns. They thrive when forested areas are cleared and converted to fields and open areas.


They forage on the ground mostly, also in trees. They do visit rubbish pits, streets and gardens early in the morning for food. They jump from the ground to catch flies and cow pats, earthworms are extracted from soil and they seek ticks by riding on backs of mammals.


European Jackdaws become sexually mature in their second year. A mated pair usually constructs a nest by improving crevice by dropping sticks into it; it is then built on top of the platform formed. These nests are lined with hair, wool, dead grass and many other materials. The eggs a glossy pale blue or blue-green with darker speckles ranging from dark brown to olive or grey-violet. Clutches usually contain 4 or 5 eggs, which are incubated by the female for 17-18 days.

Calls and Songs

The main call, frequently given in flight, is a metallic and squeaky chyak-chyak or kak-kak. This is a contact or greeting call. They also have a drawn-out alarm call, arrrrr or kaaaarr.