A common bird both of town and country. In winter vast flocks gather and roost in woods and plantations, and on high buildings in towns. It is not popular, being a dirty and untidy bird. It is a mimic and is able to reproduce a large variety of sounds from the call of a curlew to the rasp of a saw, in addition to its own flutings and clucks.
It nests in holes in trees, and in the crevices of buildings. The young bird's plumage is grey and brown, and quite unlike the speckled, glossy, metallic plumage of the adult.