American / Common Crow
Corvus brachyrhchos Order: Passeriformes Family: Corvidae American/ Common Crow
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.
- 450-570 grams
- 17-21 inches tall
- 33-39 inch wingspan
- In their native habitat: 15 months to 9 years
- Under human care: up to 30 years
- 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.
- 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.
- Akron Zoo: crow is weighed daily. He will fly to the scale for a food reward from his prepared diet.
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Crow is approved for outdoor use between 30-85ºF.
Comments from the Rating System
Contributors and Citations
- Akron Zoo