Bird’s ID – American Crow

American Crow


The American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is a large passerine bird species of the family Corvidae. It is a common bird found throughout much of North America. American crows are the New World counterpart to the carrion crow and the hooded crow. Although the American crow and the hooded crow are very similar in size, structure, and behavior, their calls are different. The American crow, nevertheless, occupies the same role that the hooded crow does in Eurasia.

From beak to tail, an American crow measures 40–50 cm (16–20 in), almost half of which is tail. Mass varies from about 300 to 600 g (11 to 21 oz). Males tend to be larger than females. The most usual call is CaaW!-CaaW!-CaaW!.

The American crow is all black, with iridescent feathers. It looks much like other all-black corvids. They can be distinguished from the common raven (C. corax) because American crows are smaller, from the fish crow (C. ossifragus) because American crows do not hunch and fluff their throat feathers when they call and from the carrion crow (C. corone) by the enunciation of their calls.

The American crow is a large, distinctive bird with iridescent black feathers all over. Its legs, feet, and bill are also black. They measure 40–53 cm (16–21 in) in length, of which the tail makes up about 40%. The wing chord is 24.5 to 33 cm (9.6 to 13.0 in), with the wingspan ranging from 85 to 100 cm (33 to 39 in). The bill length can be from 3 to 5.5 cm (1.2 to 2.2 in), varying strongly according to location. The tarsus is 5.5 to 6.5 cm (2.2 to 2.6 in) and the tail is 13.5 to 19 cm (5.3 to 7.5 in). The body mass can vary from 316 to 620 g (11.1 to 21.9 oz). Males tend to be larger than females.

The American crow is omnivorous. It will feed on invertebrates of all types, carrion, scraps of human food, seeds, eggs and nestlings, stranded fish on the shore and various grains. American crows are active hunters and will prey on mice, frogs, and other small animals. In winter and autumn, the diet of American crows is more dependent on nuts and acorns. Occasionally, they will visit bird feeders. The American crow is one of only a few species of bird that has been observed modifying and using tools to obtain food.


Photo Gallery



© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

11 thoughts on “Bird’s ID – American Crow

  1. Wonderful study on the American Crow, HJ. They’re so smart and resourceful, beautiful too. Your photos are excellent, liked seeing the iridescence, not always easy to capture. And the distinctive cawing silhouette on the light pole is a charmer.

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