Animals / Birds



Галка (ру.)

Western jackdaw, Eurasian jackdaw, European jackdaw (en.)

Dohle (de.)

Grajilla occidental (es.)


Order — Passeriformes.

Family — Corvidae.

Genus — Corvus.

Species — Corvus monedula.


The western jackdaw is 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, it occurs throughout Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and north-west India.

The jackdaw breeds in buildings and cavities in houses, as well as in parks, woodlands with hollow trees, and on sea cliffs.

Внешний вид

Length: 30-34 cm.

Wingspan: 64-73 cm.

Weight: 175-280 g.

The jackdaw is a lively, diminutive member of the crow family.

Plumage is totally 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.

Beak is short and slender.

Eyes are a unique pale blue.

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.


These small crows are highly intelligent and social, and easily pick up tricks and new skills in the wild as well as in captivity. Once a tame jackdaw was trained by some Italian thieves to steal money from cash machines but it’s more common to see them working out how to gain access to bird feeders!

Jackdaws imprinted on their human owners from an early age have an enviable reputation as pets. In Sylvia Bruce Wilmore's classic 1970s-era look at the crow family, Crows, Jays, Ravens, and Their Relatives, she stated, “No wild bird makes a better pet than a Jackdaw. It will show great devotion to its owner and it can be allowed free run of the garden without causing trouble.” There are even cases of Jackdaws learning a few words of human speech.

But watch out. This species has been known for hundreds, if not thousands, of years for its fascination with shiny objects. Your Jackdaw may not be able to resist snatching and hiding shiny items like your jewelry. They can also be noisy. And, of course, it would be unrealistic to expect an untamed adult Jackdaw to ever become as tame as an imprinted hand-raised baby.


Jackdaws are general feeders. They eat insects, snails, slugs, worms, frogs and mice, as well as vegetable matter, including cereals, fruit and berries. Flies on cow-pats are a particular favourite. Jackdaws will jump into the air to catch flying insects. The birds will circle high in the air to catch swarming ants.

Very opportunistic, some Jackdaws seek unusual prey. They have been recorded taking bats from a roost. Birds' eggs are occasionally taken, sometimes those of Herons. Puffin and Guillemot eggs are vulnerable at seabird colonies. Jackdaws can open milk bottles and have been observed pulling up stringed peanut feeders to get at the nuts. There is even a record of co-operative hunting, where a Jackdaw provoked a Puffin into leaving its nesting burrow, enabling the Jackdaw's mate to 'nip in' and steal the egg!

Jackdaws and Rooks tend to feed together. Rooks dig for their food whereas Jackdaws go more for the surface insects and snails.Like most crows, Jackdaws hide food, which they retrieve later, but they do so to a much lesser extent than Rooks.


Salmonella, Trichomoniasis, Aspergillosis, Avian pox, Mites and Lice, Lyme Disease.


Western jackdaws become sexually mature in their second year. Genetic analysis of pairs and offspring shows no evidence of extra-pair copulation and there is little evidence for couple separation even after multiple instances of reproductive failure. Some pairs do separate in the first few months, but almost all pairings of over six months' duration are lifelong, ending only when a partner dies. Widowed or separated birds fare badly, often being ousted from nests or territories and unable to rear broods alone.

Western jackdaws usually breed in colonies with pairs collaborating to find a nest site, which they then defend from other pairs and predators during most of the year. They nest in cavities in trees or cliffs, in ruined or occupied buildings and in chimneys, the common feature being a sheltered site for the nest. The availability of suitable sites influences their presence in a locale.

Western jackdaws hatch asynchronously and incubation begins before clutch completion, which often leads to the death of the last-hatched young. If the supply of food is low, parental investment in the brood is kept to a minimum as little energy is wasted on feeding a chick that is unlikely to survive. Replacement clutches are very rarely laid in the event of clutch failure.

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