- Corvus brachyrhynchos
Includes NorthWestern Crow in part.
L. 17-21" (43-53 cm)
Distinctive, stocky black bird with stout bill and fan-shaped tail.
The smaller Fish Crow has more nasal voice; the larger Common Raven has wedge-shaped tail.
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.
Consists of five 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.
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.
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.
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.
An opportunist in its feeding, the American Crow consumes a great variety of plant and animal food: seeds, garbage, insects, mice.
Familiar caw-caw or caa-caa
- 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/
- 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
- 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).
- 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
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2023) American Crow. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 7 June 2023 from https://www.birdforum.net/opus/American_Crow
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