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Species Description

American Crow

Corvus brachyrhynchos


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Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae

Description

Entirely black. 45 cm (17.5 in) in length. The bill is thick. While in flight the wing beats makes this bird appear as if it were rowing through the air. The call of this crow is the typical caw.

Life Cycle

The breeding season begins in February, peaks in March and April, and extends into June. The nest is built in a variety of heights, usually in a deciduous tree, conifer, or bush. The nest is cup-shaped, built of twigs and sticks, and lined with finer material. The female lays 4-6 eggs that she incubates for 18 days. The male feeds the female while she incubates. The young are altricial and remain in the nest for 28-35 days. Both adults feed the young while they are in the nest and for a short period after they fledge.

Natural History

The habitat preference of this crow includes woodlands, preferably pines, and a feeding area. Feeding habitat includes open fields, pastures, and crop lands. The diet of the American Crow is variable and includes corn, fruits, nuts, grains, insects, carrion, bird eggs, and bird nestlings.

Range

American Crow Region Map The American Crow is widely distributed in the United States, being found in most of the continental states all year. It is common throughout Georgia, with the highest breeding populations found in the central and southwestern regions.

Conservation Status

Because the diet of the American Crow includes seeds and other grains, it is sometimes considered a pest species. Some control efforts have involved killing these birds at their fall and winter roosts, which sometimes include thousands of birds at each roost. This species is also hunted within the United States, and is not listed as Threatened or Endangered in any part of its range.

Similar Species

In the Southeast, the species most similar to the American Crow is the Fish Crow. The Fish Crow is slightly smaller and has a less typical, more nasal-sounding call. Another similar species found in the East is the Common Raven. The Common Raven is larger than the American Crow. It also has larger bill and a wedge-shaped tail, instead of the fan-shaped tail of the American Crow.