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Species Guide
A photo of a Western Jackdaw (Coloeus monedula)
Western Jackdaw

Western Jackdaw

Coloeus monedula

The Western Jackdaw (Coloeus monedula), a member of the crow family Corvidae, is a passerine bird recognized by its black plumage with a grey nape and distinctive pale-grey irises. Measuring 34–39 centimeters in length, this bird exhibits a combination of black, grey, and iridescent blue or purple hues across its body, depending on the subspecies.

Identification Tips

Adult Western Jackdaws have a stout, black bill and legs, with a body mostly cloaked in shiny black feathers. The head features a sheen that can be purple or blue, and the throat, primaries, and tail display a green-blue iridescence. The cheeks, nape, and neck are a contrasting light grey, and the underparts are slate-grey. Juveniles are duller with less distinct plumage and brownish eyes that turn white around one year of age.


Western Jackdaws favor a variety of habitats including wooded steppes, pastures, coastal cliffs, and urban settings. They thrive in environments where forested areas have been cleared, creating open fields and spaces.


This species is widespread across Europe, western Asia, and North Africa. It is mostly resident, but populations in the north and east migrate southward during winter months.


Western Jackdaws are gregarious and social birds, often seen in flocks. They are known for their intelligence and have been observed using tools. Pairs are monogamous and maintain strong bonds within their social groups.

Song & Calls

The vocal repertoire of the Western Jackdaw includes a metallic "chyak-chyak" or "kak-kak" call, often heard in flight. They also emit a hoarse, drawn-out alarm call and have the ability to mimic human speech.


These birds are monogamous and build simple nests of sticks in cavities. They lay about five pale blue or blue-green eggs with brown speckles, which are incubated by the female. The young fledge in four to five weeks.

Similar Species

The Western Jackdaw can be confused with the Rook or, when in flight, with pigeons or choughs. However, its smaller size, faster wingbeats, and grey underwings distinguish it from other corvids.

Diet and Feeding

An omnivorous and opportunistic feeder, the Western Jackdaw consumes a wide variety of plant material, invertebrates, and food waste. They exhibit various feeding methods, including jumping, pecking, and probing the soil.

Conservation status

The IUCN lists the Western Jackdaw as Least Concern, indicating a stable and widespread population.

Western Jackdaw Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Western Jackdaws on Birda


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A photo of a Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)

Carrion Crow

Corvus corone
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