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American Crow

From Opus

Photo © by LeslieThousand Oaks, California, USA, Spring 2003
Photo © by Leslie
Thousand Oaks, California, USA, Spring 2003
Corvus brachyrhynchos


[edit] Identification

L. 17-21" (43-53 cm)
Distinctive, stocky black bird with stout bill and fan-shaped tail.

[edit] Similar Species

The smaller Northwestern Crow has hoarser voice; the larger Common Raven has wedge-shaped tail.

[edit] Distribution

Breeds from British Columbia, central interior Canada, and Newfoundland south to southern California, Gulf Coast, and Florida. Winters north to southern Canada. There is an introduced population in Bermuda.
Common in most of its range.

Photo © by colorobLittleton, Colorado, 1 May 2004
Photo © by colorob
Littleton, Colorado, 1 May 2004

[edit] Taxonomy

Consists of four subspecies.

[edit] Subspecies

There are 4 subspecies1:

Paulus is not accepted by all authorities. May form a superspecies with Northwestern Crow (or the latter may be a subspecies of this species) and known to be closely related with Carrion Crow.

[edit] Habitat

Deciduous growth along rivers and streams; orchards and city parks. Also mixed and coniferous woods, but avoids closed coniferous forests and desert expanses. Gathers in large flocks in fields in spring and fall.

[edit] Behavior

Its nest-plundering is decried, but in orchards and fields it destroys many injurious insects such as grasshoppers and cutworms. However, the labeling of birds as either "harmful" or "useful" is misleading and antiquated. Crows do destroy many eggs and nestlings of woodland and meadow birds, but they also weed out the weak and feeble, and they alert the animals in a neighborhood when danger approaches.

[edit] Breeding

4-6 dull green eggs, spotted with dark brown, in a large mass of twigs and sticks lined with feathers, grass, and rootlets, and placed in a tree. Intelligent, wary, virtually omnivorous, and with a high reproductive capacity, the American Crow is undoubtedly much more numerous than it was before the arrival of settlers.

[edit] Diet

An opportunist in its feeding, the American Crow consumes a great variety of plant and animal food: seeds, garbage, insects, mice.

[edit] Vocalization

Familiar caw-caw or caa-caa

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. 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
  3. Marzluff, J. (2018). American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 15 December 2018).
  4. Verbeek, N. A. and C. Caffrey (2002). American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

[edit] Recommended Citation

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