Alternative names: Jungle Crow; Thick-billed Crow; Black Crow; Japanese Crow (japonensis, connectens, osai), Eastern Jungle Crow (levaillantii); Indian Jungle Crow (culminatus)
Photo by janha
Shiba park, Tokyo, Japan
, December 2005
- Corvus macrorhynchos
46 - 59cm. The different subspecies differ greatly in size.
- Long bill with the upper mandible quite thick and arched, making it look heavy. The bill size differs greatly with the subspecies.
- Macrorhynchus with a distinctively peaked forehead, other subspecies to a lesser extent
- Dark greyish plumage from the back of the head, neck, shoulders and lower body. Almost black in Indian forms.
- Wings, tail, face and throat are glossy black
- Dark brown iris
- Black legs and bill
Sexes similar. Juveniles with less glossy plumage and a smoky blue iris.
 Similar species
Very similar to Slender-billed Crow. Note the concealed culmen base in Large-billed Crow, the longer tail in flight and the more obviously fingered primaries. May also be confused with Carrion Crow and Common Raven in parts of its range.
Found in south and east Asia.
From Afghanistan over the Indian Subcontinent, the Himalayas and central, south and east China to Korea, the far east of Russia to Japan. Also to Burma, Thailand, Indochina, peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Sundas to Timor and Wetar. A regional form occurs on the Philippines.
Common and widespread in most of its range. Rather rare in Borneo. Records from Iran, north Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan are probably erroneous.
There are eleven subspecies in this taxon which could be split into several species in the future:
- Japonensis group
- C. m. intermedius in east Afghanistan, Pakistan, along the Himalayas to south Tibet and north Nepal
- C. m. tibetosinensis in Tibet, eastern Himalayas (east from Bhutan), north Burma and extreme south China
- C. m. mandshuricus in the Russian Far East, Korea, Sakhalin and northeast China
- C. m. japonensis in Japan and south Sakhalin
- C. m. connectens on Amami Oshima and Ryukyu Island (Japan)
- C. m. osai on southern Ryukyu Islands
- Levaillantii group
- Macrorhynchos group
- Philippinus group
More subspecies are proposed but usually not accepted. The taxonomy of this species is not yet solved.
Woodland, parks and gardens. In north of range often near rivers and settlements near rivers.
Up to 2000 m in Sri Lanka, 4500m in Sikkim and 5000m in Tibet. Known to follow mountaineers as high as 6400m.
Feeds on carrion of all kinds. Forages along shorelines and roadsides, robs bird nests, steals food from vulture nests, kills palm-squirrels and rodents, frogs, lizards, crabs and insects. Takes also fruit, nectar and petals.
Usually seen in pairs or family parties, often associating with other birds like House Crow.
The nest is a platform of twigs, usually high up on a tree with a preference for tall conifers like Fir or Pine. There are normally 3-5 eggs laid and they are incubated for 17-19 days. The young are fledged usually by about the 35th day.
A resident species. Birds of northern populations move to the coast (ice-free river-mouths) in winter.
Click images to see larger version
By Alok Tewari
Bairagarh, Dist. Chamba, Alt. 7900 ft, India
, June 2014
- Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
- Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
- Rasmussen, PC and JC Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334672
- Birdforum thread discussing the large number of potential future splits of this species
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