Left to right: Daurian jackdaw (Coloeus dauuricus) and Western jackdaw (C. monedula)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Subfamily: Corvinae
Genus: Coloeus
Kaup, 1829[1]

Jackdaws are two species of bird in the genus Coloeus closely related to, but generally smaller than, crows and ravens (Corvus). They have a blackish crown, wings, and tail, with the rest of their plumage being paler.[2] The word Coloeus is Neo-Latin, from the Ancient Greek for jackdaws: koloiós (κολοιός).[3][4]


While some authors consider Coloeus a subgenus of Corvus, others have classified Coloeus as a distinct genus in the family Corvidae.[5] Following Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide,[6] the International Ornithological Congress has also reassigned the two jackdaw species from the genus Corvus to the genus Coloeus.[7]


The species are the western jackdaw (Coloeus monedula), which breeds in Europe, northern Asia and Northern Africa, and its eastern counterpart, the Daurian jackdaw (Coloeus dauuricus), found from China and eastern Siberia to Japan.[2] The eastern species is smaller than the western jackdaw, and in eastern adults the pale areas of the plumage are almost white, whereas in the western bird these areas are pale grey. The iris is pale in western jackdaw and dark in Daurian jackdaw. The two species are otherwise very similar in shape, calls, and behaviour. There is an argument for lumping the subgenus members as one species, but they do not interbreed where their ranges meet in Mongolia.[2]


  1. ^ Kaup, J. J. (1829). Skizzirte Entwickelungs-Geschichte und natürliches System der europäischen Thierwelt : Erster Theil welcher die Vogelsäugethiere und Vögel nebst Andeutung der Entstehung der letzteren aus Amphibien enthält. Darmstadt und Leipzig: Carl Wilhelm Leste. p. 114.
  2. ^ a b c Madge & Burn (1994) 136–138.
  3. ^ Cancik, Hubert; Schneider, Helmuth, eds. (2006). "Crow". Brill's New Pauly. Brill. the jackdaw (κολοιός/ koloiós, βωμωλόχος/ bōmōlóchos, Lat. monedula or graculus.)
  4. ^ Brown, R. W. (1954). Composition of Scientific Words: A Manual of Methods and a Lexicon of Materials for the Practice of Logotechnics. Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 219.
  5. ^ Haring, E.; Gamauf, A.; Kryukov, A. (2007). "Phylogeographic patterns in widespread corvid birds". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 45 (3): 840–862. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.06.016. PMID 17920300.
  6. ^ Rasmussen, Pamela C.; Anderton, John C. (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-84-87334-67-2.
  7. ^ Gill, F.; Donsker, D. (eds.). "Vireos, Crows & Allies". IOC World Bird List (version 2.8). Archived from the original on September 17, 2011. Retrieved June 10, 2011.

Further reading