American Crow
Corvus brachyrhynchos
Family Corvidae

Long thought to be a harbinger of ill fortune, the crow is nonetheless a widespread and highly successful species, whose dark silhouette and distinctive caw are recognized throughout the country.

Identifying Traits (both sexes):

  • Entirely glossy back plumage
  • Thick, heavy black bill
  • Legs and feet a dark gray-black
  • Flies with a slight kink near the middle of each wing
  • Often seen in large flocks or mobs
  • Size: 50 cm (20”)
  • Weight: 450 g (1 lb)

Similar Species: The fish crow (a southern species) is slightly smaller, but sizes overlap and so size is not the nest character.  The fish crow’s voice is higher and more nasal, and it often cuts off it cawing abruptly.

Voice: The American crow utters a loud, distinctive caw!  It sometimes gives these caws in a rapid series while bobbing its head up and down. 

Habitat: Crows will live quite happily wherever there is food (and they will eat practically anything), but they are most often seen around wooded areas, open fields, farmland, and suburban streets.

Range: The American crow is a year-round resident throughout the United States.

Adult in flight

Interesting Facts: Crows sometimes gather in “mobs” to harass owls or other birds of prey.  This may be done to steal food or simply to drive the intruder off of the crows’ territory.      



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