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American Crow - BirdForum Opus

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


Photo © by wonderview
Nova Scotia, Canada, 15 April 2021

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

Similar Species

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


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 colorob
Littleton, Colorado, 1 May 2004


Consists of four 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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Familiar caw-caw or caa-caa


  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 http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  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 https://www.hbw.com/node/60786 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. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.647

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