Media release

Look out - rooks are about

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Otago Regional Council (ORC) needs help from the community to keep an eye out for rooks and their nesting sites throughout Otago, as part of the annual spring eradication programme.

Rooks are considered a pest because of the extensive damage they can cause to crops and new grass.

They have previously been spotted in Maniototo, Strath Taieri, Middlemarch, and South Otago around Clinton and Clydevale.

ORC director environmental monitoring and operations Scott MacLean advises people not to shoot at or scare the rooks themselves, because there is often only one chance to deal with them, and if they get a fright they can scatter and form new rookeries.

“We rely on help from the community to call us if they see any rooks or nesting sites between now and November, because they are our eyes and ears on the ground,” Mr MacLean said.

“ORC’s pest control programme has reduced the number of rooks from hundreds at the peak to around 50. Anyone who sees a rook or rookery just needs to give us a call and our rook eradication staff will come and deal with them,” he said.

No chicks have been reported in the last four years, meaning the rook population may no longer be breeding.

Rooks (Corvus frugilegus) are part of the crow and raven family. They are larger than magpies and completely black, and their feathers often have a purple or bluish-purple sheen in bright light. Rooks were introduced to New Zealand to control insects, but have become a pest here due to the damage they cause.

People who see rooks in Otago are asked to contact ORC environmental officer Malcolm Allan on 027 278 8498, or ORC at 0800 474 082 or

For more information please contact

Scott MacLean
Director environmental monitoring and operations
Ph 0800 474 082 or 027 4119459