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Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus


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Fish Crow
credit: Marshall Iliff

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Corvidae, Crows, Magpies, Jays view all from this family

Description ADULT Has glossy, all-black plumage with a relatively long bill. In flight, note the rather long, fan-shaped tail. JUVENILE Similar, but has an brown tinge overall to plumage.

Dimensions Length: 17" (43 cm)

Habitat Widespread resident of coastal southeastern U.S. Seldom seen far from water, typically favoring coastal beaches, lagoons, and estuaries, but increasingly seen further inland on shores of lakes and rivers.

Observation Tips Easy to see, but challenging to identify with absolute certainty until you learn to distinguish its call from that of American Crow.

Range Great Lakes, Florida, Texas, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Southeast

Voice Utters a weak nasal cah-hah.

Discussion Southeastern coastal counterpart of American Crow and extremely similar to that species, which is otherwise marginally larger. Crow aficionados can detect Fish Crow's more slender bill, relatively longer wings and tail, and more extensive gloss to plumage; in flight, note the Fish Crow's more pointed wingtips and faster wingbeats. But in most instances specific identification is most reliably based on call; that of Fish Crow is more nasal than American Crow. An opportunistic feeder that is typically found on coasts, but increasingly on margins or lakes and rivers. Sexes are similar.