• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

American Crow - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Corvus brachyrhynchos)
Photo © by Leslie
Thousand Oaks, California, USA, Spring 2003
Corvus brachyrhynchos

Includes NorthWestern Crow in part.

Identification

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 Fish Crow has more nasal voice; the larger Common Raven has wedge-shaped tail.

Distribution

Breeds from Alaska, 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 jvhigbee
Washington, USA, January 2005

Taxonomy

Consists of five subspecies.

Subspecies

There are 5 subspecies1:

  • C. b. caurinus - (Northwestern Crow) Kodiak I. and coastal s Alaska to sw Washington
  • C. b. brachyrhynchos - Central and e Canada to e-central US; winters to se US
  • C. b. hesperis - N British Columbia to sw US and n Baja California
  • C. b. pascuus - Peninsular Florida
  • C. b. paulus - Eastern United States

Paulus is not accepted by all authorities. Northwestern Crow formerly considered a separate species (C. caurinus) is now treated as a subspecies of this species. Closely related with Carrion Crow.

Photo © by colorob
Littleton, Colorado, 1 May 2004

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.

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.

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.

Diet

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

Vocalization

Familiar caw-caw or caa-caa

References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://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

Recommended Citation

External Links

Search for scientific name Corvus brachyrhynchos


Search for scientific name Corvus caurinus


Top