American Crow

American Crow

Kingdom Class Order Family Phylum Species
Animalia Aves Passeriformes Corvidae Chordata Corvus brachyrhynchos

The American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is a sizable passerine Bird Species in the Corvidae family. The hooded and carrion crows’ New World counterparts are the American crows.

Although the American crow and the hooded crow have size, structure, and behavior that are very similar, they call and look very different. Nevertheless, the American crow shares the same ecological niche as Eurasia’s Hooded and Carrion crows.

They are incredibly intelligent and can adapt to environments with people.

American Crow Physical Characteristics

1 Corvus Brachyrhynchos

The American crow’s feathers are shiny and multicolored, and their bills are solid black with a sharp bend backward at the end[1].

  • The feathers on the nares are coarse and stiff. Crows of all ages are the same size, but young crows have blue eyes and pink mouths on the inside.
  • Their mouths and eyes get darker as they age. Young birds can also be distinguished from adults by their tails’ sharpened, symmetrical ends. In contrast, the adult feathers are open and rounded.
  • Young birds have sporadic brown feathering on their wings and tails during their first winter and spring. Then, following the first molt, the newly emerging hair is darker and shiny.

American Crows Are Quite Opportunistic Eaters

2 American Crows Opportunistic Eaters

Although crows are often associated with carrion, clever corvids are opportunistic eaters who use their cunning to consume practically anything they can get their beaks on, including crops and the eggs of other birds.

American Crows have been observed foraging for clams in pits, distracting river otters from stealing fish, dropping nuts on objects to crack them open, and stealing dog food from outdoor dog dishes.

American Crow Is Known To Hold “Funerals” And “Wakes

3 American Crow Funerals Wakes

Recent studies have also revealed that crows are renowned for holding “wakes” and funerals[2].

  • An American Crow will call out to other crows nearby when it discovers the dead body of another crow, causing them to congregate and start making noise themselves.
  • The behavior, according to researchers, aids crow communities in learning about potential threats (such as those researchers wearing caveman masks). Hence, they know which areas and predators to stay away from in the future.

American Crows Are Social And Family Oriented

4 American Crows Social

Crows are particularly social and family-oriented birds, making communal learning possible.

  • American crows will gather in sizable flocks to forage at farms and garbage dumps during the day. Then, in the winter, they roost in groups of up to two million.
  • Additionally, they create nuclear families with up to five generations.
  • Even yearlings and two-year-olds will assist their parents in caring for the chicks, helping to construct the nest, maintaining it, and feeding their mother while she is perched.

American Crows Are Smart And Family Oriented

5 American Crows Smart

The intelligence and adaptability of American Crows have helped them survive in the Anthropocene.

  • In recent decades, especially in urban centers[3], they have increased.
  • Their population has increased over the past 40 years by nearly 20% every decade, according to BirdLife International.
  • There are currently 27 million breeding individuals in the species.

Other Black Birds

Suggested Reading: All Types of Black Birds

American Crow

Cite This Page

APA7MLA8Chicago (2024, February 22). American Crow. Bio Explorer. "American Crow" Bio Explorer, 22 February 2024, "American Crow" Bio Explorer, February 22 2024.
Key References
  • [1]“Description of the American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos.”. Accessed June 03, 2023. Link.
  • [2]“Why Crows Hold Funerals | Live Science”. Accessed June 03, 2023. Link.
  • [3]“Causes and consequences of expanding American Crow populations”. Accessed June 03, 2023. Link.


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