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A photo of a Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)
Carrion Crow

Carrion Crow

Corvus corone

The Carrion Crow, Corvus corone, is a member of the Corvidae family and the genus Corvus. This bird is recognized by its entirely black plumage, which exhibits a green or purple sheen, particularly more vibrant than that of the Rook. The adult male, which can be seen moulting in places like the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, measures approximately 48–52 centimeters in length, with a wingspan ranging from 84 to 100 centimeters, and weighs between 400 and 600 grams. Juveniles display brownish feathers and blue eyes, which darken with age.

Identification Tips

To identify the Carrion Crow, look for its black bill, legs, and feet, which complement its dark plumage. It is smaller than the common raven and lacks the grey plumage of the hooded crow. When observing juveniles, note the brownish plumage and blue eyes, which will gradually change as the bird matures.


Carrion Crows are versatile in their choice of habitat. They can be found in urban areas, moorlands, woodlands, sea cliffs, and farmlands. They are often seen in proximity to human activity, where they can scavenge for food.


Native to western Europe and the eastern Palearctic, the Carrion Crow has a range that extends to the mountains and forests of Japan, as well as urban Japanese environments.


The Carrion Crow is known for its solitary nature, in contrast to the gregarious Rook. However, it may socialize in winter roosts or when feeding with other birds. Its distinctive voice, a deep, guttural croak, sets it apart from the high-pitched calls of the Rook. These crows are also known to perform bowing gestures while cawing and can become quite tame around humans.

Song & Calls

The Carrion Crow's call is a series of loud croaks, often delivered from a high perch. It may also produce clicking sounds and is known for its slower, more deliberate wing-beats compared to the Rook.


The Carrion Crow builds a bulky stick nest, typically in a tall tree, but also on cliff ledges, old buildings, or pylons. The female incubates 3 to 4 brown-speckled blue or greenish eggs for 18–20 days, and the young fledge after about 29–30 days. It is not uncommon for offspring from previous years to assist in rearing new hatchlings.

Similar Species

The Carrion Crow can be confused with the common raven due to its size and color, but it is notably smaller. The hooded crow, with its grey plumage, is also similar but can be distinguished by its coloration.

Diet and Feeding

An opportunistic feeder, the Carrion Crow's diet includes carrion, insects, earthworms, grain, fruits, seeds, nuts, small mammals, amphibians, fish, and scraps. It is a scavenger by nature and is known to steal eggs and occasionally hunt, sometimes in cooperation with others of its kind.

Conservation status

The Carrion Crow is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating that it currently faces no significant threats to its survival on a global scale.

Carrion Crow Sounds

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Carrion Crows on Birda


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