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American Crow

Corvus brachyrhynchos
Conservation Status: 
Least Concern
North America
Broad range of habitats including open woodland, grassland, farmland, and cities

American Crows are very large songbirds in the animal group called Corvids. They are omnivorous, meaning they eat a wide range of foods. Their diet includes bugs, small mammals, fruits, seeds, and even human scraps. They are known for their clever foraging techniques, using tools and creative methods to obtain food. For example, they have been observed placing hard-shelled nuts onto a road and letting cars crack the nuts open. Other crows will pick up mussels on the beach and drop them onto rocks to crack the shells.

Crows are also capable of social learning, where they can observe how other birds get food and then practice it themselves.

The American Crow's beak is not especially adapted to access a particular food type. Instead, they use their general-purpose beak to obtain whatever food is available.

American Crows are medium-sized birds with glossy black feathers. They have a fan-shaped tail and a strong, slightly curved bill. Adults typically measure about 17 to 21 inches in length, with a wingspan of around 33 to 39 inches.

Breeding season for American Crows typically occurs in the spring. They are monogamous birds that form long-term pairs. Both partners construct a bulky nest made of sticks high in trees and lines it with soft materials like hair, moss, or bark. Clutches usually consist of 4 to 5 eggs, and females primarily do the work of incubation, which lasts about 18 days. Once hatched, the chicks are cared for and fed by both parents for around 4 weeks until they fledge. They then stay near the parents for at least an additional 30 days, and possibly all the way to the next nesting season.

American Crows have a relatively long lifespan compared to many other songbird species. In the wild, they can live up to 6 to 10 years, and some individuals have been known to reach over 20 years in human care.

Their adaptability to various environments has contributed to their widespread population. As humans continue to expand and disrupt new land, the adaptable American Crow will be there to benefit from the disruption. However, like many wildlife species, they face threats such as pesticide exposure.