• Claire Stott

Mistaken identity

With their sleek all black feathers, long legs and harsh calls, it is easy to get the larger members of the corvid family (carrion crows, rooks and ravens) confused, but this becomes even more challenging when it comes to their youngsters.

Take this individual for instance, photographed on South beach a few days ago. At first glance you might mistake it for a carrion crow, albeit a very scruffy one, however this bird is in fact a juvenile rook.

What am I?

A closer look at the facial features reveals at it’s true parentage. A large, elongated, sharp beak and the beginnings of a bare white face patch appearing under the eye. The feathers also have a shaggier appearance and lack the glossy shine of the crow.

A closer view – see the bare face patch starting to emerge

Once the bird matures the scaly white face patch will spread and the feathering on top of the bill will be lost entirely.  The tatty juvenile feathers will also be replaced during the moult with fresh new adult plumage.

Below: a juvenile (left) and adult bird (right)  for comparison

The youngster was accompanied by both parents and the family group though initially wary, soon settled down and began to wander the beach and sift through the sand for food.

juvenile rook with parents in the background

Sifting sand

Keeping an eye on the skies

Adult rook on the beach

— All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2017 © http://www.greyfeatherphotography.com

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#birdwatching #aberystwyth #juvenile #birder #fledling #rook #photography #ornithology #babybirds #corvids #beach

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