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Carrion Crow

From Opus

Alternative names: Common Crow; Eurasian Crow; Oriental Crow (C. c. orientalis)

AdultPhoto by G6 UXUEntwistle Reservoir, Lancashire, UK
Photo by G6 UXU
Entwistle Reservoir, Lancashire, UK
Corvus corone


[edit] Identification

48-54cm. A compact crow:

  • All black plumage with a green or purple sheen
  • Dark brown iris
  • Black, stout bill
  • Legs dark grey to black

Sexes similar, juveniles with duller plumage and pink gape when bill open. Hybrids between Carrion Crow and Hooded Crow occur regularly in a narrow band where their ranges meet.

JuvenilePhoto by RichUK
Photo by RichUK

[edit] Similar species

May be confused with young Rook. The shape of head and the flight are quite different.

[edit] Distribution

Most of western Europe and a disjunct population (perhaps a separate species) in central and eastern parts of northern Asia.
Common or abundant in most of its range despite persecution by gamekeepers and farmers.

[edit] Taxonomy

Was formerly considered conspecific with Hooded Crow, which occupies central Eurasia inbetween the two subspecies of Carrion Crow. Precise relationship between the three taxa not yet settled, and possible that either Hooded may be re-lumped, or C. c. orientalis split as a third full species.

Photo by I4aniDartmoor, Devon, UK, 2010
Photo by I4ani
Dartmoor, Devon, UK, 2010

[edit] Subspecies

Two subspecies accepted1:

  • C. c. corone - Western Europe (except Ireland and north-western Scotland)
  • C. c. orientalis - North-eastern Iran to northern China, Korea and Japan

[edit] Habitat

Found almost anywhere from coast to moorland, even city centres and intensively farmed land.3

[edit] Behaviour

Ingenious adaption to urban environments and intelligent. Can be observed sitting on top of traffic lights and dropping hard-shelled nuts onto the streets below so to make use of the crushing effects of traffic; and will wait to retrieve the contents at a 'red' signal.

[edit] Diet

A crow observed catching a fishPhoto by BrianWHCarsington Water, Derbyshire, March 2015
A crow observed catching a fish
Photo by BrianWH
Carsington Water, Derbyshire, March 2015

The diet includes carrion, insects, worms, seeds, fruit and scraps.

Has been observed taking a live fish out of the water. Extra pictures and discussion[2].

[edit] Breeding

Breeding season generally in northern spring. A pair often stays together over several years and throughout the year. Usually a solitary nester. The large nest is built by both sexes and is made out of sticks. It's usually placed high in a tall tree. Nests on buildings, electricity pylons or cliffs are also known. Lays four eggs. The chicks leave the nest after 32 days.

In some parts of the range Great Spotted Cuckoo may parasitise the nest.

[edit] Vocalisation

Listen in an external program

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. Downloaded from
  2. Parkin, D. T., Collison, M., Helbig, A., Knox, A. G., & Sangster, G. (2003). The taxonomic status of Carrion and Hooded Crows. British Birds 96 (6): 274–290.
  3. RSPB
  4. 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

[edit] External Links

Threads about taxonomy of Hooded and Carrion Crow:

  1. [1] and [2]
  2. Thread discussing a Crow catching a fish

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