The American Crow is a distinctive bird with iridescent black feathers all over. Its legs, feet and bill are also black. They measure 16–21 in. in length, of which the tail makes up about 40%. The wingspan ranging from 33 to 39 in. The bill length can be from 1.2 to 2.2 in, varying strongly according to location. The body mass can vary from 11.1 to 21.9 oz. Males tend to be larger than females.
The Eastern Crow, Western Crow, Florida Crow and Southern Crow are the four sub-species recognized under this kind of crow species.
The most usual call is a loud, short, and rapid caaw-caaw-caaw. Crows have more than 20 different calls. American Crows can also produce a wide variety of sounds and sometimes mimic noises made by other animals, including other birds.
American Crows are common birds of fields, open woodlands, and forests. They thrive around people, and you’ll often find them in agricultural fields, lawns, parking lots, athletic fields, roadsides, towns, and garbage dumps.
They have a look alike which is the Fish Crow and looks almost identical to the ubiquitous American Crow. Fish Crows are tough to identify until you learn their nasal calls usually a pair of cah cahs. They are also slightly smaller.
Crows usually feed on the ground and eat almost anything – typically earthworms, insects and other small animals, seeds, and fruit but also garbage, carrion, and chicks they rob from nests.
Crows build nests in pines, cottonwoods and oaks which are built out of twigs, stems and sticks.
During the breeding season the female crow lays around 6 eggs and incubates them for 18 days. After about 35 days, the young ones are well-developed and ready to take flight. Some young crows help to bring up the young ones and a family may include 15 individuals.
Their flight style is unique, a patient, methodical flapping that is rarely broken up with glides.
Crows are extremely gregarious birds, flocking together in family units in the summer and congregating in massive
(often thousands of birds) roosting units in the fall and winter.
Research has shown the American Crow is known to suffer from the West Nile virus that which can kill the bird within a week.
This has brought down the population of this species of crows.
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American crows belong to the family Corvidae, which includes jays, ravens, nutcrackers and magpies.
Behavioral biologists have even called them “feathered primates” because the birds make and use tools, are able to remember large numbers of feeding sites, and plan their social behavior according to what other members of their
Crows are no bird-brains: Neurobiologists investigate neuronal basis of crows’ intelligence. Article on testing crow intelligence.
The crow has the ability to count and is intelligent enough to solve puzzles or problems.
They can be trained to mimic the human voice.
They are also fascinated with and will collect shiny objects such as keys, rings and foil.
They can be very aggressive to other birds and mammals. Crows can sometimes be seen “mobbing” or harassing hawks and owls.