Bird’s ID # 229

Fish Crow


The Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) is a species of crow associated with wetland habitats in the eastern and southeastern United States.
The fish crow is superficially similar to the American crow, but is smaller (36–41 cm in length) and has a silkier, smoother plumage by comparison. The upperparts have a blue or blue-green sheen, while the underparts have a more greenish tint to the black. The eyes are dark brown. The differences are often only really apparent between the two species when seen side by side or when heard calling. The bill is usually somewhat slimmer than the American crow, but is only readily distinguishable if both species are seen together
he voice is the most outwardly differing characteristic for this species and other American crow species. The call of the fish crow has been described as a nasal “ark-ark-ark” or a begging “waw-waw”. Birders often distinguish the two species (in areas where their range overlaps) with the mnemonic aid “Just ask him if he is an American crow. If he says “no”, he is a fish crow.” referring to the fact that the most common call of the American crow is a distinct “caw caw”, while that of the fish crow is a nasal “nyuh unh”
This species occurs on the eastern seaboard of the United States from Rhode Island south to Key West, and west along the northern coastline of the Gulf of Mexico and follows many river systems inland for quite some distance. Coastal marshes and beaches, rivers, inland lakes and marshes, river banks, and the land immediately surrounding all are frequented.

Photo Gallery



Β© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

13 thoughts on “Bird’s ID # 229

  1. Do they eat fish? I wouldn’t have thought so, but I’ve been surprised to find the grackles that hang out around our marshes and marinas plucking small bait fish from the water and eating them.

    • The answer is yes. By the way, the bird depicted is still wet from fishing.
      Thank you for reminding me about the grackles I saw in Tybee Island and Jekyll Island in Georgia doing just what you said. Thank you, Linda. Your sense of observation is very acute. πŸ™‚

  2. Spent January trying to find one of these fish crows along the Gulf – definitely hard to tell the differences with American Crow if not able to see them next to each other – hoping I got one in the tin, but still pouring through the images – definitely remember hearing the odd call so fingers crossed – thanks for the additional background.

  3. The ones I’ve seen were at Pier 60 Beach, Clearwater, FL. I hope it will help you. Thanks, Brian. πŸ™‚

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