Media release

Be on the lookout for rooks this spring

Friday 3 September 2021

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) undertakes active rook pest management between September and November, and we need help from the community to spot them around Otago.

Rooks, or Corvus frugilegus, are members of the crow family and pests in Otago’s Regional Pest Management Plan under an eradication programme. That means it’s ORC’s goal to get rid of all rooks in Otago.

Rooks are thought to be in Otago in very low numbers thanks to successful control efforts in past years. They are very hard to find in the wild, making reports from the community essential.

Team Leader Environmental Implementation Libby Caldwell said that anyone who spots a rook in Otago should contact ORC as soon as possible.

“There is only one rule for rooks in our pest management plan: you cannot undertake control measures unless you are authorised. Instead, the best thing you can do is let us know right away so that we can pinpoint their rookeries and take effective controls.

“The reason for this rule is that rooks scare easily and will scatter if they are disturbed, making effective control more difficult.”

Rooks (Corvus frugilegus) - a pest in Otago’s Regional Pest Management Plan under an eradication programme by Otago Regional Council

Rooks (Corvus frugilegus).

Rooks are large, crow-like birds with glossy, purplish-black feathers and whiteish beaks. They have a distinctive ‘kaah’ call and often return to previous rookeries during breeding seasons.

Rooks are considered a pest in Otago due to their ability to destroy new grain and grass crops.

“ORC will be out inspecting previous known rook locations and undertaking control measures if any are discovered when covid alert levels allow,” Ms Caldwell said.

In the meantime, people should report sightings by calling ORC on 0800 474 082, or emailing

To learn more about rooks and other pests in Otago’s Regional Pest Management Plan, visit our online Pest Hub: