Hooded Crow

Corvus cornix

45-47cm

Appearance

The Hooded Crow is greyish with a slight pinkish tinge in certain lights. The wings, legs, head and tail are black, and there is a bib-like section on the upper breast which is also black. The bill is short, dark and wide. Juvenile is browner than the adult. Hooded Crows may reproduce with Carrion Crows, resulting in birds with markings from each species.

Habitat

Is flexible with its habitat, which ranges from sea cliffs to agricultural land, and includes moors, woods and human-populated areas. Feeding often occurs at rubbish dumps, estuaries and other places by the seaside.

Character

Feeding takes place on the ground, where it moves by walking or hopping. The Hooded Crow is an opportunistic feeder, and may steal food from birds (particularly gulls, and even Ospreys and eagles) when in flight.

Food

Basically eats what it can find, so the diet includes carrion, vulnerable or young birds, mammals, eggs, insects, worms, beetles, grains, fruit and seeds. May also eat shellfish, smashing them on rocks in order to crack the shells open.

Breeding

Female lays 3-6 eggs in a tree nest, or on a cliff or other high structure. She incubates these for 18-19 days. Both adults tend to the hatchlings, which depart the nest after about 28 days, gaining independence after 3-5 weeks.

Population

Hooded Crows of the region are usually fairly sedentary, and some migratory birds arrive in eastern Britain during winter. British and Irish birds seldom move more than a few kilometres although some flocks form communal roosts in winter. It is believed that there are more than 260 000 territories in the region, and Ireland is home to between 250 000 and 500 000 pairs.

Observation Tips

The Hooded Crow has strongholds in Scotland, and viewing is highly likely in these areas.

Voice

Utters an abrasive call such as ‘crea-crea-crea’ or ‘caaarr’, and sounds much like a Carrion Crow.
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