Crows are black birds known for their intelligence and adaptability, and for their loud, harsh "caw." They also have a reputation for damaging crops; however, their impact may be less than previously thought.
The genus Corvus comprises crows, ravens and rooks. These birds are all part of the Corvidae family, which includes jays, magpies and nutcrackers.
There are about 40 species of crow, so there are many different sizes of crows. The American crow measures around 17.5 inches (45 centimeters). The fish crow measures around 19 inches (48 cm). The common raven is much larger and measures around 27 inches (69 cm). Crows can weigh anywhere from 12 to 57 ounces (337 to 1,625 grams). Rooks are smaller than crows and have distinct wedge-shaped tails and light-colored bills. They average 18 inches (47 cm) long.
Habitat & BEHAVIOR
Crows prefers open areas — agricultural land and grasslands — with trees nearby. They also thrive in suburban neighborhoods.
They, too, prefer wide open spaces, river plains and steppes.
Crows are extremely intelligent birds. They are known for their problem-solving skills and amazing communication skills. For example, when a crow encounters a mean human, it will teach other crows how to identify the human. In fact, research shows that crows don’t forget a face.
Many types of crows are solitary, but they will often forage in groups. Others stay in large groups. A group of crows is called a murder. Murders of crows will ban together and chase predators in a behavior called mobbing. With some crow species, the yearlings and non-mating adults live in a group called a roosting community.
Some crows migrate while other crows don’t migrate in the common sense. They will travel to warmer areas of their territory, when needed.
Crows are omnivores, which means they eat nearly anything. Crows eat small animals such as mammals, amphibians, reptiles, eggs and carrion. They also eat insects, seeds, grains, nuts, fruit, non-insect arthropods, mollusks, worms and even other birds. Crows have also been noted eating garbage and store food in caches, short-term, in trees or on the ground.