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The most common crow here in Dorset, found in a wide variety of habitats and often a large numbers


Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

Jackdaw: old blue eyes

Post date: Wednesday, 3 February, 2016 - 00:00

The most common of the crow family here in Dorset has to be the Jackdaw (Corvus monedula). Not only is it found in a wide variety of habitat from sea cliffs to quarries, woodland to pasture, towns to villages, where it occurs it is usually in large numbers. At least 100 are frequently around us here in Wareham. This is a sociable little crow, not only enjoying the company of its own kind but often found with flocks of rooks and also with carrion crows too. Despite these flocks you will often find them in pairs, when perched they are often in twos.

The origin of their name is not really known. The daw is a country name for a crow and it seems to me that their distinctive harsh 'jack' call must lead us to Jackdaw but jack also means both common and small in the country language so they could be common crows or small crows, take your pick.

Apart from their characteristic call they are easy to tell apart from the other crows because they are smaller and the back of the head is grey (this is not a sign of ageing!). They are also accomplished fliers, with a more direct and purposeful flight than their cousins. They can be quite aerobatic too, just watch them over the cliffs at Durlston.

They have lovely blue eyes and are quite endearing, very intelligent and quite pompous too, strutting around knowing they are in control.


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Jackdaw
Scientific Name Corvus monedula
Status Common
Interest Level
Species Family Corvids
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Preferred Environment
  • Downland and scrub
  • Farmland
  • Rocky cliffs and shores
Look for The distinctive 'jack-jack' call
Additional Identification Notes
  • Smaller than the rook and carrion crow and with a greying colouring to the back of the head
  • A gregarious bird often seen in largish flocks and often in the company of rooks
  • Can be seen feeding in fields, soaring over cliffs and marauding across downland 
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