Sunday, 19 April 2009

Those Rooks and their Pouches

The mystery of the pouch under a Rook's beak has been solved. The answer was found for me by ShySongbird who was far more proficient than me at searching the web. She found me a reference in the International Wildlife Encyclopedia. There it explains that the throat pouch has an opening under the tongue. Here the male Rook can store food to take back to the nest to feed the young. Also it is used to take offerings of food to the female during courtship. Thank you ShySongbird for helping me out.

This one looks to be well and truly full!
Rooks Pouch

The other day there were a couple of Rooks on one of the feeders. The bottom one was tucking in to the remaining fat ball. Every so often it would stop and just sit there. The Rook on top would reach down and gently peck at the lower ones head as though to say - move over, I haven't had my supper yet. Occasionally the peck would be a bit harder and a short altercation would take place and then both would settle down again.


The light was very poor and photos of the birds in motion were hopelessly out of focus. I consigned most of those to Dusty Bin except this one which I like. It gives the impression of a ghostly Rook landing on the feeders. It's almost as though one can see right through the bird.

From Blogger Pictures


  1. Well done to ShySongbird for solving the mystery.
    What a great detailed shot that first one is John. And Rooks on bird feeders; something I have never seen. Thanks.

  2. Well I didn't know that! Thanks for that info on the rooks pouch. You learn something new everyday... Jane

  3. Holdingmoments: That first shot - the Rook was about six feet from the kitchen window and so busy stuffing its pouch it didn't notice me. They are very skittish and vanish at the slightest movement normally.
    They love the fat balls, unfortunately. They peck at them and reduce them in size until they can pull one out and fly off with a meal big enough for a whole Rookery :(

    Hi Jane. Nor did I but then I'm very new to the finer details of birds - all creatures come to that. It's nice to be learning new stuff. Keeps the last remaining grey cell active.

  4. Goodness, that's a pouch and a half John! Lovely photo of it. Thank you very much for mentioning me, I'm glad I was able to help, I enjoy researching things.
    They are fascinating birds, I don't see them in my garden, which perhaps is no bad thing as the Wood Pigeons and Collared Doves hog the bird table already.

  5. Credit where credit is due ShySongbird. You did the hard work on the research.
    You are probably better off without the big birds - they can certainly tuck in to a lot of food but useful for clearing up the stuff that other birds leave.

  6. Isn't learning a great occupation! Nice to have the mystery solved and well done SS for getting there.

    I've never seen a rook with such a pouch before - great pic! And the ethereal picture is wonderful. Just goes to show we shouldn't bin what we sometimes determine as "duds" - incorrectly!

  7. Hi Tricia: It's not surprising the pouch is bulging. The partly open beak looks like a conveyor belt. There is a whole line of seeds heading to the pouch!

    As for the arty Rook piccy - I keep seeing the face of a monkey at the top the right wing. I can see one eye, a nose and a mouth. Must say something about my addled brain cells :(

  8. Excellent post with great photos - have just learnt something new! I've also never had rooks on the feeders.

  9. Hi Chris: I think we have all learnt something new here. We often just take the large common birds for granted and hardly give them a second glance. It is only having them as regular visitors which gave me the opportunity to observe them close up.

  10. Thank you John & ShySongbird for the photo and information on those rooks and their pouches. I've noticed the rooks with their 'double chins' in our Suffolk garden but could find no answers to my question in any of our bird books - now I know. Thank you, Rod

  11. Hello Rod. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. It is nice to have these little questions solved and that is one beauty of blogging - there is usually someone who can come up with the answer.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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