American crows can fly up to 30 miles per hour.
American crows can fly up to 30 miles per hour.
Photograph by Hakoar, Dreamstime

American Crow

If you live in the contiguous United States, you’ve almost certainly seen (or heard!) an American crow.

Common Name:
American crows
Scientific Name:
Corvus brachyrhynchos
Length: 17.5 inches

American crows range from southern Canada throughout the United States. As an adult, this bird is entirely black from bill to tail, except for its brown eyes. Adult crow feathers have a glossy sheen. These noisy birds are often recognizable by their distinctive, loud cry, called a caw. They are often mistaken for the common raven, but ravens are larger, have differently shaped bills, pointed wings and tails, and hoarser cries.

American crows often live in family groups. Both members of a breeding pair help build the nests, and the female crow usually lays four or five eggs in the spring or summer. After about five weeks in the nest, the young birds begin learning how to fly and catch prey. Crows sometimes stay near the place where they were born to help raise other young crows.

Crows gather in large groups during the winter. They congregate late in the day in areas with large trees. This behavior is known as winter roosting.

Crows will eat almost anything, from insects and small animals such as frogs to fruit and nuts. They prefer open areas with access to trees and can sometimes be found around vegetable gardens. Crows also frequently live in suburban neighborhoods and in parks.

Crows are considered to be very intelligent birds.