Identify crows

Know your crows!

Jackdaw © Neil Aldridge

Clever crows

Crows are intelligent, intriguing and interesting to watch. There are eight different members of the crow (or corvid) family in the UK. See how many you can spot with our handy ID guide.

Carrion crow

Carrion crow © Chris Maguire

Carrion crow

The classic crow, with all black feathers that sometimes look glossy. They can be found almost anywhere and are usually seen alone or in pairs. They have a croaky call that they often give three or four times — "Caww! Caww! Caww!".

Rook

Rook © Nick Upton/2020VISION

Rook

Looks similar to the carrion crow, with black feathers that can also look glossy. The main difference is the long, pale and pointy beak, with bare skin around its base. Rooks also have shaggy feathers at the top of their legs that look like baggy shorts! Rooks hang out in large flocks and often feed on farm fields. They have a gruffer call – "Graah!". 

Buzzard in flight with raven

Buzzard in flight with raven © Steve Waterhouse

Raven

The world's largest member of the crow family, as large as a buzzard! Ravens have shiny black feathers and a huge, thick beak. When they're flying they have a diamond-shaped tail. They're often seen in rough, rocky places like coastal cliffs and upland moors. They have a loud, deep "kronk!" call.

Chough

Chough © Vaughn Matthews

Chough

The chough (pronounced 'chuff') is our rarest crow. It only lives in a few places on the coasts of Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Choughs are easily recognised by their bright red legs and beaks. They soar and swoop above windy cliffs and call to each other with an excited "Chow". 

Hooded crow

Hooded crow © Barrie Williams

Hooded crow

Hooded crows are closely related to carrion crows and look very similar. They have a black head, wings and tail, but a grey body. They only live in some parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, but can sometimes be seen in other parts of the UK.

Jackdaw

Jackdaw © Gillian Day

Jackdaw

The jackdaw is our smallest crow. They are black with glossy grey feathers on their head and neck and a very bright eye. They often hang around in groups, mixing with other corvids like rooks. They're very noisy and give excited "Jack! Jack!" calls.

Magpie

Magpie © Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

Magpie

Magpies are often seen in parks and gardens, where they like to visit bird feeders. At a distance they look black and white, but when you look closer you can see the black feathers shine with different colours, like blue, purple and green. They gather in small groups and have a rattling, chuckling call.

Jay

Jay © Donald Sutherland

Jay

The most colourful member of the crow family! Jays are mostly brown with a beautiful blue patch on each wing and a white bum. They are hard to see as they're often shy and live in the woods. But they're easy to hear as they have a loud screeching call. In autumn you might see them collecting acorns to hide. They're very clever and remember where the acorns are hidden, so they can find them and eat them in winter.