What is the difference between Raven and Rook?

Resident in the UK, both the Raven and Rook can be found right across the UK, but like other birds of the crow family, there are some key differences between them if you know what to look for. In this article, I will explain; What is the difference between a Raven and a Rook?.

Generally, the Raven is also much larger than the Rook in terms of weight, wingspan and length. Both the Raven and Rook belong to the same ‘Crow’ family of birds, but one of the most distinctive features of a Rook is the peaked head and bare, greyish-white face. In addition, the Raven’s tail is wedge-shaped in appearance compared to the Rooks, which is rounded.


The Raven is much larger than most other birds of the crow family, including the Rook. Similarly to the Rook, they are black in appearance. They have a black metallic sheen to their feathers, and this is missing in the Rook, whose feathers tend to have a more standard black glossy appearance. Ravens have a large and powerful blunt bill with a shag of throat feathers called hackles and a call that sounds like a deep/throaty ‘cronk-cronk’ call compared to the Rook, which has a very similar call to that of the Carrion Crow.

FoodCarrion, mammals, birds and eggs, insects and other invertebrates

Ravens are deemed to be very intelligent birds in comparison to other members of the Crow family. This stems from their behaviour as they have been regularly observed in playful activities with other Ravens. Ravens have even been observed flying upside down with their wings tucked up, and experts believe that this is likely to be for no other reason than for fun. In comparison to other species of bird, Ravens prefer to soar at a greater height.

Interesting Fact: Being omnivores, ravens generally eat anything available.

As a general rule, Ravens tend to prefer their own company most of the time, but they can also be found in pairs, especially around autumn and winter and the mating season. Ravens are known to come together around this time of year to roost, and this activity seems particularly common among younger birds, perhaps the result of older birds having already found partners of begun nesting. Like the Rook, the Raven is a meat eater and will seize the opportunity to eat carrion in addition to insects and live small prey.

When and where you find them?

Resident in the UK, Ravens, can be found right across the UK except for eastern parts of Scotland and England. This stretches as far as the East and South East of London. Like many resident birds, Ravens can be found in the UK throughout the year.


Unlike the Raven, which prefers its own company. Rooks are much more sociable birds and can often be found in groups. They have a very distinctive bare, greyish-white face in stark contrast to the Raven and Carrion Crow that is black. A Rook has black glossy feathers, and these do not have a metallic sheen to them like the Raven, and they also have a much thinner bill compared to the large blunt bill of the Raven. They generally have a peaked crown, almost pointed heads, which also differs from other crow family members, such as the Carrion Crow, which has a much flatter head. Unlike the Raven, the Rook makes a ‘caa-caa’ call similar to that of the Carrion Crow.

FoodAlmost anything, Carrion, mammals, birds and eggs, nuts, seeds, insects and other invertebrates

Listen to the two calls side by side:



Rooks are usually found in groups and, once they have found a mate, will often pair for life whilst also remaining in a flock. Much like other birds of the crow family, the Rook will also roost in the evening in flocks. These vary throughout the year but increase notably in autumn when they tend to gather at dusk shortly before roosting. The primary roosting location tends to be woodland for many of the Rooks in the UK, but it is not uncommon for tall trees in town to be covered by these birds at dusk. It is not uncommon for Rooks to also roost alongside jackdaws, another member of the crow family. Similarly to the Carrion Crow, the Rook is another bird that can be found almost strutting around your garden while foraging for food with its strong beak.

Interesting Fact: In France, rooks have been trained to pick up rubbish

Although it is known that for Rooks to eat almost anything, it is believed that as much as 60% of their diet will be made up from vegetable matter, including leaf, nuts and fruit, with the remaining 40% being made of worms, small mammals, birds and eggs. Although Rooks tend to vary wary of human contact, they are quite opportunistic and are very aware that there is often a quick meal to be had if they frequent high traffic areas such as picnic areas, rubbish bins etc. In 2018 a theme park in France used this to its advantage by training Rooks to pick up rubbish.

When and where you find them?

Resident in the UK, Rooks are social birds usually found in open fields in flocks of varying sizes. They are not strangers to our towns and gardens, but they are more at home in smaller villages with the surrounding countryside. Although they can be found right across the UK, they are less common in the far northwest of Scotland.

Other related questions asked

Which is bigger, rook or raven? Generally, a Raven is much bigger than a Rook. A Raven is around 60-68cm in length compared to 44-46cm of a Rook. The wingspan of a crow is 81-99cm compared to 120-150cm of the Raven.

Is a rook a crow or a raven? Rooks, Raven and Carrion Crow are all members of the same group of birds and sit alongside Chough, Hooded Crow, Jackdaw, Jay and Magpies as members of the Crow family.

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I'm Wayne. For many years, I have been a fan of feeding the birds in my back garden and often asked myself questions about what I was seeing. This prompted me to research things further and I have continued to do so ever since. This is the site where I share everything I have learned.

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