Carrion Crow

Corvus corone



Adult Carrion Crows are black, and can have a slightly blue iridescence. Bill and legs are black, also. Marginally bigger than Rooks, and somewhat smaller that Ravens. Carrion Crows may breed with Hooded Crows, resulting in offspring with markings from both or either species. Juveniles have a brown tinge to their plumage.


Habitat of the Carrion Crow is varied, including agricultural land, fields, woods, and cliffs by the seaside. Is fairly widespread through England and Wales, but in Scotland, there is a specific line through the Firth of Clyde to the Dornoch Firth, and Carrion Crows usually reside to the south and east of this line. To the north and west of the line is the Hooded Crow’s territory, with some interbreeding occurring in proximity to the imaginary divider.


Flocks of single or immature adults may gather, particular in winter roosts. Makes its way along the ground when feeding by walking with the occasional hop. Flies slowly, but shows surprising agility when stealing food from other birds.


Diet includes carrion, injured and vulnerable birds, mammals, eggs, insects, worms, beetles, grain, fruit and seeds. May also eat shellfish by breaking open on hard surfaces.


Female incubates 3 or 4 eggs for between 18 and 20 days. Both parents tend to hatchlings, which depart the nest at approximately 30 days old; they fledge after about 3-5 weeks.


Majority of birds of the region are sedentary, but some visitors may arrive from mainland Europe in the winter. There are approximately 1 million Carrion Crow territories throughout the UK.

Observation Tips

The Carrion Crow has large numbers in the region, but observers should be mindful of potential confusion with a young Rook; a juvenile Rook doesn’t yet have the adult’s bare patch near its bill, which means it looks very similar to the Carrion Crow.


Has an abrasive, low-toned ‘kreaa, kreaa, kreaa’ call, which it mingles with a plethora of other calls.
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