American / Common Crow

Corvus brachyrhchos Order: Passeriformes Family: Corvidae American/ Common Crow  

Overview 

Natural History Information 

Range and Habitat 

  • Crows are highly adaptable and will live throughout North America wherever there are open places that offer perches and reliable sources of food.

Physical Description

  • 450-570 grams
  • 17-21 inches tall
  • 33-39 inch wingspan

Longevity 

  • In their native habitat: 15 months to 9 years
  • Under human care: up to 30 years

Ecosystem Role 

  • Crows can be pests if they have the opportunity to scavenge food. They can also be beneficial to our crops by eating insects and weeds that can cause damage.

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

Diet Requirements

  • In their native habitat: opportunistic omnivores, they will eat whatever is available to them. Diet is mostly vegetables and grains with 28% consisting of insects such as beetles, grubs, grasshoppers, and crickets.
  • Akron Zoo: insects, fruits, vegetables, kibble, pinkie mice, bird of prey diet
  • Diet is used for training and enrichment.

Weight Management

  • Akron Zoo: crow is weighed daily. He will fly to the scale for a food reward from his prepared diet.

Veterinary Concerns

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Enrichment 

  • Behavioral Relevant Information 
  • Behavioral Enrichment  
    • Akron Zoo: our crow likes to have places to cache food (like a large leaf pile) and he enjoys a large water bowl to bathe in
  • Schedule  
    • Akron Zoo: since crows are highly intelligent, our crow is enriched daily, rotating through different categories such as rest, self- directed behaviors (such as preening), social (with either humans or other animals), forage/ item manipulate, or explore/ investigate.  
    • Other Enrichment Resources  
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Training 

  • Behaviors Trained
    • Akron Zoo: scale, kennel, donation box (take paper money from guests and place in a large acrylic box), recycle (take items and place in either a compost or recycling bin, able to distinguish between the items he should recycle and compost)
  • Reinforcers used & schedule of reinforcement
    • Akron Zoo: regular diet is used for reinforcement

Colony or Breeding Management

Individual Identification

Programmatic Information

Messaging Themes 

Threats and Conservation Status 

  • IUCN species of least concern
  • Protected by the federal Migratory Bird Act
  • Since the introduction of West Nile, crow populations have declined as much as 45% across the United States. Crows are particularly susceptible to the virus.
  • Preyed upon by birds of prey, especially hawks and owls

Interesting Natural History Information 

  • Crows are monogamous and stay together until one of them dies or otherwise becomes incapacitated.
  • Crows have a higher mental capacity than most other birds and even some mammals. They can learn to mimic human words or other sounds. They can identify and remember faces.
  • Crows and ravens are similar species and guests often ask how to tell the difference. Ravens are 1/3 larger than crows with heavier bills and a fan shaped tail.
  • Crows have keen eyesight and can see in color.
  • Crows generally fly 20-32 miles per hour, but can fly up to 60 mph when threatened.

Did you know… 

  • A flock of crows is called a murder and may contain thousands of birds.

Handling & Presentation Tips 

Use Guidelines

  • Akron Zoo: crow is primarily used in the summer show, but also appears in VIP tours and other programs.

Public Contact and Interaction Guidelines 

  • Akron Zoo: our crow cannot be touched by the public but does know a donation box behavior that allows guests to get close and interact with him. Guests hold out paper money folded long ways and the crow takes it and places it in a large acrylic donation box.

Transportation Tips 

  • Akron Zoo: a kennel cover should be used when transporting to and from programs. Cover should be removed from the door and sides for ventilation while in the van.

Crating Techniques 

  • Akron Zoo: small very- kennel lined with Astroturf with a perch. Crow walks himself into the kennel and is rewarded from his prepared diet once he is on the perch.

Temperature Guidelines

  • Crow is approved for outdoor use between 30-85ºF.

Acquisition Information

Comments from the Rating System

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Photographs

Documents

Contributors and Citations

  • Akron Zoo