Description of the American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos.

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Audubon's Common American Crow.

Description of the American Crow


The American crow is a fairly large bird, 17 to 21 inches from bill to tail (43-53 cm), with the mean weight for males 458 grams and for females, 438 grams. Its plumage appears black at a casual look, though it contains various other colors as described below. Bill, legs, and feet are black, though very young birds may have yellow areas on the bill. Eyes in adults are dark brown, while young birds have blue eyes. In flight the crow has what is described as a "fan shaped tail", as distinct from the "wedge shaped tail" of the larger common raven.


"In color, the Common (American) Crow is rather distinctive when it comes to a comparison with other North American and Caribbean species. The occiput and crown is lightly flecked with violet blue on a background of black, this area contrasting fairly sharply with the nape, which is a uniform dull black. This flecking on the head is more apparent on some specimens than on others. The upper back, scapular, central and lower back feathers are metalic violet and show the scale-like appearance alluded to by several authors. In some lights, there is a gloss of reddish violet to the primary coverts, scapulars, and secondaries, or there might be a slight greenish cast to the primaries. Ventrally, by way of contrast, the throat and neck are generally black with a wash of metalic violet. The chest and flanks are also washed with violet on a black background, and usually give a mottled appearance. The central abdomen and belly feathers are dull black without any violet luster." (Johnston, 1961)

Of all the above characteristics, the scale-like appearance of the feathers on the upper back are the most obvious and distinctive.

Baird's Common American Crow.

(This section will be added to on a continuing basis. Your comments and suggestions are welcomed. Other parts of the site are also under construction. This site will be continually expanding as the Project grows.)

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