©Gillian Day


Scientific name: Corvus monedula
The jackdaw is a small, black-capped crow of woodlands, parks, towns and coast. It is a well-known thief, stealing other birds' eggs and breaking into garden feeders.

Species information


Length: 33-34cm
Wingspan: 70cm
Weight: 220g
Average lifespan: 5 years

Conservation status

Common. Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2021). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

When to see

January to December


Our smallest crow, the jackdaw is a bird of woodland, parkland, coasts and urban areas. It nests in holes in trees, and on cliffs and buildings; sometimes it will even nest in chimneys! It eats invertebrates, fruit, seeds and carrion, and occasionally takes eggs and nestlings. A sociable bird, the jackdaw can be seen in flocks, often performing aerial acrobatics or repeating its short, loud 'kya' call. Jackdaws mate for life, pairing-up during their first year, but not mating until the year after. The pair will often sit next to each other, preening.

How to identify

The jackdaw has a short, chunky bill, a grey 'shawl' around the back of the head, a black cap and a white eye.


Widespread, but absent from the far north-west of Scotland.

Did you know?

The common name of the jackdaw probably comes from two separate words: 'Jack' meaning rogue (it is a well-known thief) and 'daw', which is an imitation of its call.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.


Jackdaws by John Bridges