Fun Jackdaw Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi
Jackdaw facts are amusing to read.

Have you recently spotted a beautiful dark black and gray bird with white irises? If yes, then it would most likely be a jackdaw, a bird of the crow family.

The bird is also commonly known as the western jackdaw. It is a common sight in neighborhoods of the UK, even though its population is stretched over a large area.

One bird was also seen in Egypt during the winter months. This corvid species is considered one of the smallest in its family, but they are also one of the most social birds.

The shiny black plumage of this bird often has a blue or purple sheen on its head and neck, giving it a supreme look. The contrast of the black feathers and the white iris stands out in the adult birds. These are highly intelligent birds, and they have trained in the past to mimic human speech.

If you happen to have a bird feeder, then the blackbird can be easily spotted trying to feed on the seeds. The birds also have monogamous breeding pairs, and the couple maintains the relationship even when breeding fails.

Want to know more interesting jackdaw facts? Keep on reading to find out more about them.

Also, check out the information about the Hawaiian crow and the house wren to know more about birds.

Jackdaw Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a jackdaw?

The Jackdaw is a bird that is part of the crow family.

What class of animal does a jackdaw belong to?

The Jackdaw belongs to the class Aves and to the order Passeriformes.

How many jackdaws are there in the world?

Though the total population of jackdaws cannot be determined, a study indicated that the number of breeding pairs in the UK might have risen to 1,400,000. In 1998 the UK population of individual jackdaws was thought to be around 2.5 million.

Jackdaws are one of the birds that have had exponential growth in population. The European population is thought to be between 15.6-45 million birds.

Where does a jackdaw live?

Jackdaws are found in different parts of Europe, northern Asia and North Africa. However, bird species have become extinct in Malta and Tunisia. The Eastern and Northern populations of jackdaws are often migratory.

What is a jackdaw habitat?

Jackdaws have the ability to live in different types of habitats. However, it does have a preference of residing in a more open habitat.

Some of the primary residing spots of Jackdaws include wooded steppes, cultivated land, pastures, coastal cliffs, towns, and open grounds. The species are also found around buildings and parks. As a social species, the birds can also interact with the humans that live near their habitat.

Who do jackdaws live with?

Jackdaws are extremely social, and the species usually live in groups. Some even migrate to a different place during the cold winter months. Jackdaws are also known for being monogamous, and the pair may even stay together with an inability to produce fertilized eggs. Flocks have a tendency to grow in size during the fall months.

Jackdaws even have a hierarchy-based social structure. This species of bird is also known for sharing food amongst each other. The birds may even roost with carrion crows during the winter months.

How long does a jackdaw live?

The average lifespan of a jackdaw is around five years.

How do they reproduce?

Like other birds and crows, the jackdaw also reproduces by laying eggs. The birds are monogamous in nature, and most will have a lifelong mate.

Jackdaws breed in colonies, and the birds collaborate with each other to build a nest. Gaps in trees and cliffs are the common nest sites, and jackdaws like to place their nest in a heightened position to keep it away from predators.

Another quality of the nests is their big size.

Though there is no fixed breeding season for the birds, the female usually lays eggs in April. The females lay eggs in a clutch of four to five, and the small eggs are usually white or plate blue with reddish-brown or black splotches.

The incubation period lasts up to 17-18 days, and the chicks are born with plumage or down. The great spotted cuckoo often deposits its eggs in the nest of a jackdaw.

What is their conservation status?

The Jackdaw bird is currently listed as of Least Concern in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Jackdaw Fun Facts

What do Jackdaws look like?

Kids would love to read jackdaw facts.

On your first look at a Jackdaw, it may look like any other crow, but one of the striking things about this bird is the white portion of its eyes. The bird has a shiny black or dark gray plumage on its crown and forehead, with either a blue or purple sheen according to its location and habitat.

It also has a green-blue sheen on its chest. The short bill of this bird, along with its legs, is black or dark gray.

The plumage of its neck and nape area are covered with light gray feathers. Both the female and male of this bird species look alike.

The Jackdaw vs. crow debate isn't valid as the Jackdaw is a part of the crow family. However, it is almost 75% the length of the other crow species.

As we noted before, the striking white or gray eyes of the Jackdaw are quite attractive. The juvenile birds usually have pale blue irises that gradually turn white.

Certain subspecies of the bird have also been recognized based on the difference in geographical location as well as the color of feathers present on the nape, or the sheen of the feathers. The Jackdaws living in western parts have a heavier beak.

How cute are they?

Will you call a crow cute? If yes, then this bird might be called cute. Nevertheless, the birds look extremely classy because of their dark black plumage. As it is small compared to the other crows, the Jackdaw also looks less intimidating to humans.

How do they communicate?

Jackdaws love to vocalize, and it is quite elaborate regarding the calls. The main call of this species is known to be 'chyak-chyak' or 'kak-kak' that it uses as a greeting or contact call.

The birds are also known for making calls after collecting food. They also vocalize if there has been an invasion of their nest.

The voice of a jackdaw gets louder as it ages and turns into a penetrating scream once the bird is 18 days old. One of the most interesting Jackdaw bird facts is that it is one of the crows that can be taught human speech.

How big is a jackdaw?

The usual length of a jackdaw is around 13–15 in (34–39 cm) and the wingspan is around 27 in (70 cm). The jackdaw is about two times smaller than the common raven that grows to a length of 22-30 in (56–78 cm). The length of the body is used to measure a jackdaw rather than its height.

How fast can a jackdaw fly?

Jackdaws are quite fast and the flight speed of the birds is around  20-25 mph​ (32-40 kph). This bird prefers a gliding flight which also helps in finding prey. Apart from a fast flight, the Jackdaw is also brisk on the ground owing to its powerful small black feet.

How much does a Jackdaw weigh?

The average weight of a Jackdaw is around 8.5 oz (240 g), which is quite low compared to other crows.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male Jackdaw is known as a cock and the female Jackdaw is known as a hen.

What would you call a baby jackdaw?

A baby jackdaw is known as a chick.

What do they eat?

Like other crows, the jackdaw also has an omnivorous diet. It has a range of food sources that can include earthworms, small invertebrates, flies, rodents, bats, and eggs of other birds.

The small bill of these birds helps to tear apart the meat with efficiency. The jackdaw can often be seen searching through dustbins for food.

These birds may even ride on the back of sheep and other mammals to feed on ticks. During the breeding time, some jackdaws may even move to a diet consisting of 84% plant materials.

Are they predators?

At times, the jackdaw turns into a predator while hunting for food. Apart from feeding on small invertebrates, these birds may even predate the nests of skylarks, Manx shearwaters, razorbills, and grey herons. The birds belonging to the south may even partake in kleptoparasitism by stealing food from other species.

Would they make a good pet?

Well, even though jackdaws are highly intelligent and can mimic human speech, it is better to leave them alone. As a wild animal, the jackdaw wouldn't like being caged inside a home as a pet.

Did you know...

The jackdaw was formerly given the binomial name of Corvus monedula that has later changed to Coloeus monedula. However, Corvus monedula is still often used as a synonym.

Jackdaws were once regarded as vermins, and it was vehemently hunted in English neighborhoods. The species is still hunted in Germany and in Cyprus.

According to Greek mythology, the jackdaw once possessed white feathers, which were later changed to black. The birds have also been linked to the arrival of death or of a bad omen.

The different subspecies of the jackdaw include the Nordic jackdaw, the Western Eurasian jackdaw, the Eastern Eurasian jackdaw, and the Algerian jackdaw.

How smart are jackdaws?

Jackdaws are very smart. The social birds are known for sharing food, and it is more active in giving than the chimpanzees. These birds can even pick up tricks taught by humans.

There was a jackdaw that was trained by Italian thieves to steal money. These birds are also known for getting access even to the toughest of bird feeders. As curious birds, the jackdaw might remember different human faces.

The Jackdaw's call

The common jackdaw call sounds like 'chyak-chyak', or 'kak-kak' which is mainly used by the bird for communication. However, the species also has an alarm call that sounds like 'arrrrr' or 'kaaaarr'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the night heron and the little blue heron.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our crow coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You


See All

Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi

Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Oluwapelumi Iwayemi picture

Oluwapelumi IwayemiBachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Iwayemi is a creative content writer and editor studying for a Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering from the University of Lagos. He is skilled in research and has experience writing and editing content for different organizations.

Read full bio >