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American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
Scientific classification

Linnaeus, 1758

Crows form the genus Corvus are in the family Corvidae. They are medium to large sized birds, carnivores and scavengers.

The genus includes the crow (carrion crow or hooded crow), the rook, jackdaw, and the large common raven. The genus has 40 or so members on all temperate continents except for South America, and some islands.

The Corvus makes up a third of the species in the Corvidae. Crows appear to have evolved in Asia from corvid stock which had evolved in Australia. The collective name for a group of crows is a flock or, more poetically, a murder.[1]

Characteristics[change | change source]

Crows will eat just about anything from insects to invertebrates to meat. They also enjoy nuts, worms, and vegetables. Crows are known for being shy around humans at first.[2] Crows are naturally shy and wary creatures, and they prefer open areas with good visibility and safe places to perch and roost.[3] Crows have keen eyesight.[3] They enjoy bathing and drinking from birdbaths.[3]

Intelligence[change | change source]

Some crow species not only use tools but also make tools.[4] Crows are now thought to be, with parrots, among the world's most intelligent birds.[5]

They have a brain size (adjusted for body size) as large as some apes. The jackdaw and the European magpie have a nidopallium about the same relative size as the equivalent neocortex in chimpanzees,[6] and significantly larger than is found in the gibbon.[7]

A story of how a girl fed crows, and in return they brought her tiny gifts, shows what the birds are capable of.[8][9]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Murder of Crows, etc". Word Detective. February 22, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  2. Perry, Tod (23 March 2022). "Crows are shockingly smart. Here's how to make friends with one in four steps". Upworthy. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Attracting Crows: Proven Methods for Luring These Intelligent Birds". Birdfact. 16 November 2023. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  4. Winkler, Robert (August 8, 2002). "Crow makes wire hook to get food". National Geographic. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  5. "A Murder of Crows". Nature. PBS video. 2010-10-24. Retrieved 6 February 2011. New research indicates that crows are among the brightest animals in the world.
  6. nidopallium: the region of the avian brain that is used mostly for executive functions and other higher cognitive tasks.
  7. Rogers, Lesley J.; Kaplan, Gisela T. (2004). Comparative vertebrate cognition: are primates superior to non-primates?. New York, New York: Springer. p. 9. ISBN 0-306-47727-0.
  8. Sewall, Katy (25 February 2015). "The girl who gets gifts from birds". BBC News. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  9. "Birds that bring gifts and do the gardening". BBC News. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2024.