American crow

Corvus brachyrhynchos

American crows are similar in appearance to ravens. You can tell them apart by their size, call, flight pattern, flocking behavior and habitat selection.

Crows are members of the Corvidae family. Corvids are oscine passerine birds. That means that they have specialized vocal apparatus (oscine), and are perching (passerine) birds. Other Minnesota corvids include ravens, jays, and magpies.


General description: Large black bird.

Size: About 15 1/2 - 21 inches.

Color: All black, slightly iridescent.

Sounds: Hoarse, cawing call.


Crows are omnivores. They are opportunists and will eat nearly anything.

Habitat and range

The crow's habitat selection is quite varied. They prefer agricultural or grassland settings for foraging, and woodlots and forest edge habitats for roosting and breeding. This omnivorous bird is also comfortable in urban settings, where it can forage for food humans make available through trash, pet foods, bird feeding, etc. Some crows migrate short distances, but many remain on their territories throughout the winter months.

Population and management

They participate in flocking behavior. Large flocks gather in winter feeding and roosting areas. Communal roosting occurs from autumn through mid-winter, typically in areas with large trees.

Fun facts

All Corvids are highly intelligent. Crows demonstrate an ability to make and use tools, a trait until recently only attributed to humans and a few other highly developed mammals.

American crow

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