Back to list

American crow

Corvus brachyrhynchos

Photo: American crow
Weights and measures
Length from 40 to 50 cm
Animal description
The American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is a highly intelligent and adaptable bird species that is a part of the Corvidae family, which also includes ravens, jays, and magpies. Recognizable by its all-black plumage, which can have a slightly iridescent sheen in the right light, the American crow is a common sight across much of North America, ranging from Canada down through the United States and into Mexico.

Adult American crows are medium to large-sized birds, measuring about 17 to 21 inches in length, with a robust build, strong legs, and a relatively long tail. Their wingspan can stretch from 33 to 39 inches wide, allowing them efficient and strong flight capabilities. One of the crow's most distinguishing features is its bill, which is thick, black, and slightly curved, designed for a versatile diet.

The American crow's diet is impressively varied and includes insects, small animals, carrion, seeds, nuts, and fruits. This dietary flexibility has allowed them to adapt to a wide range of habitats, including forests, agricultural areas, coastal regions, and urban environments. In cities, they are often seen foraging in garbage, which has helped increase their numbers in these areas.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the American crow is its intelligence. Crows are known for their problem-solving skills and have been observed using tools, a trait that places them in a select group of animals capable of such complex behavior. They have a sophisticated social structure and are known to work in groups to achieve tasks or defend against predators. Their vocalizations are complex and varied, and they have been known to mimic the sounds of other animals, including human speech.

Breeding season for the American crow begins in early spring. They are monogamous birds, with pairs often staying together for many years. Nests are typically built high in trees and are constructed from sticks and lined with softer materials like grass, hair, and feathers. Females lay between 3 to 9 eggs, which they incubate for about 18 days. Both parents take part in feeding and protecting the fledglings, which leave the nest after about 35 days but often stay with the family group.

American crows have few natural predators but are susceptible to West Nile virus, which has significantly impacted their populations in some areas. Despite this, they are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, due to their wide distribution and large population size.

In many cultures, crows have been associated with various symbolic meanings, ranging from intelligence and foresight to death and the supernatural. Their presence in folklore and mythology is a testament to the deep impression they have made on human society throughout history.

Overall, the American crow is a fascinating and complex creature, embodying the intricate balance between adaptability and specialization. Their continued success in a rapidly changing world speaks to their resilience and the depth of their intelligence.
Map of occurrence
Photo: American crow - occurrence
New photos of animals