Black Crow — it is a bird known for its intelligence and adaptability, as well as its loud, harsh sound. They also have a reputation for damaging crops, however their impact may be less than previously thought. The genus Corvus includes ravens, ravens and rooks. These birds are part of the Corvidae family, which includes jays and magpies.
Species origin and description
The Latin binomial name Corvus Corone comes from the Latin Corvus and the Greek Corone. The genus Corvus can be translated as “raven”, and “Corone” means crow, so “Raven Raven” is a literal translation of Corvus Corone.
There are about 40 types of crows, so they come in different sizes. The American crow is about 45 cm long. The fish crow is about 48 cm long. The common raven is much larger at about 69 cm. Crows can weigh between 337 and 1625 grams. Rooks are smaller than crows and have distinct wedge-shaped tails and light-colored beaks. They average 47 cm in length.
Video: Black Crow
American black ravens differ from regular ravens in several ways:
- these crows are bigger;
- their voices are coarser;
- they have more massive beaks.
Fun fact: Black crows can be identified by their distinctive sound. It is believed that with the help of a huge number of melodies, ravens voice their feelings in response to hunger or threat, for example.
Their good ability to fly and walk, as well as the joint exploitation of food resources give crows an advantage over other farm birds. The black crow has a long history of persecution as a robber and nest pest. However, from an environmental point of view, there is no good reason for this.
Moreover, persecution has nowhere led to the death of the population. In particular, non-breeding herds can damage crops. On the other hand, crows are useful birds, as they devour a large number of mice and snails, especially during the breeding season.
Appearance and features
Black Ravens — huge birds, by far, one of the largest in the crow family (48 & # 8212; 52 cm in length). They are archetypal ravens: a uniform black body, a large protruding beak, but much smaller than that of a raven. The typical great black crow has no obvious sex markings. It is slightly smaller than the common raven, with a longer, highly graduated tail, a heavier beak, a shaggy throat, and a deeper voice.
Although at first glance it is easy to see a black crow with a uniform black plumage, this is not entirely true. Look closer and you will notice a subtle green and purple sheen that is quite eye-catching indeed. These birds have neatly feathered thighs and feathers around the base of their bills. Black crow feet — anisodactyl, with three fingers pointing forward and one finger pointing back. The wingspan of an adult crow is between 84 and 100 cm.
Fun fact: The brains of black crows are relatively the same size as those of chimpanzees, and some researchers continue to suggest that crows “think » about their social and physical environment and use tools to gather food.
Perhaps it is the intelligence that gives the black crows a mysterious, but at the same time unearthly behavior — both from a real and cultural point of view. Imagine that a raven is shrewd, with focused eyes, beating its wings slowly and steadily as it maneuvers across the sky, with “fingers” at the tips of its wings. They look strange, like human fingers in silhouette.
Black crows are also often confused with rooks, whose beaks are thicker, more bulbous, and do not have bristles or hair. Interestingly, unlike rooks, which are usually very sociable and outgoing, carrion ravens are more solitary in nature, although this may change to some extent in winter.
Where does a black crow live?
Black crows can be found around the world in a variety of habitats. Historically, they have lived in swamps, in lightly cultivated areas with sparse tree cover, and along coasts. More recently, to an incredible extent, they have adapted to suburban and urban areas.
Black crows use parks and buildings for nesting, as well as food in landfills and garbage cans. The only serious damage seen in black crows, — This is a deterioration in nutrition. They are not limited by the height existing from sea level to mountainous areas. Black crows tend to nest in trees or on rocks. Black Crow — one of the most common birds in the world.
They are found:
- in Europe, Scandinavia, Iceland and Greenland;
- throughout Asia, from the Pacific ocean to the Himalayas, to India and Iran;
- through northwestern Africa and the Canary Islands;
- in North and Central America far to the south, for example, to Nicaragua.
Preferred home countries for black crows are the UK (except Northern Scotland), France, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Northern Italy and Switzerland. In winter, many European birds reach Corsica and Sardinia.
Black crows also prefer open landscapes — seashores, treeless tundra, rocky cliffs, mountain forests, open river banks, plains, deserts and sparse forests. Rooks are found throughout Europe and Western Asia. They also prefer wide expanses, river plains and steppes. The black crow is absent from the northwest of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.
Now you know where the black crow lives. Let's see what this bird eats.
What does the black crow eat?
Black crows are omnivores, which means they eat almost everything. Crows eat small animals such as mammals, amphibians, reptiles, eggs, and carrion. They also feed on insects, seeds, grains, nuts, fruits, non-insect arthropods, molluscs, worms, and even other birds. Ravens have also been noted to eat garbage and store food in hiding places, briefly, in trees or on the ground.
Interesting fact: Black crows can stand on anthills and let ants climb them. The bird then rubs the ants into its feathers. This behavior is called anting and is used to protect against parasites. Ants can also make birds drink the formic acid released from their bodies.
Black crows feed mainly on the ground, where they walk purposefully. They may even attack and kill young, weak animals. This habit makes them unpopular with farmers, as does the bird's penchant for destroying crops.
Crows can scurry away with scraps of prey and store tidbits in trees, hide meat like a leopard does for later consumption. Sometimes they bury seeds or store them in crevices in the bark, sometimes they steal food from other animals, partnering with other crows to raid the food of otters, vultures and waterfowl.
Character and lifestyle features
Black crows are very smart birds. They are known for their problem solving skills and amazing communication skills. For example, when a crow meets a mean person, it teaches other crows how to identify him. In fact, research shows that black crows don't forget faces.
Fun fact: Smart black crows can be master mimics. They have been taught to count aloud up to seven, and some crows have learned over 100 words and up to 50 complete sentences; others have been known to imitate their owners' voices to call dogs and tease horses. They also display great curiosity, having a reputation for being resourceful pranksters and counting thieves. They scatter with people's mail, pull clothespins out of lines, and run off with unattended items like car keys.
Many species of crows are solitary, but they often forage in groups . Others stay in large groups. When one crow dies, the group will surround the deceased. These funerals don't just mourn the dead. Black crows come together to find out who killed their cock.
After that, a group of crows will unite and will pursue predators. Some species of crows are annuals, rather than mating adults, living in a group called a perching community. Some crows are migratory while others are non-migratory. If necessary, they will travel to warmer areas of their territory.
Black crows are well known for their solitary nesting habits, although they maintain extensive nesting territories around their nests. Interestingly, crows work together to provide protection from predators and other intruders.
They exhibit a particular behavior of leaning on some prominent object, such as a chimney or a television antenna, and quite loudly vocalize a series of sharp, timed croaks.
Fun fact: Black crows clean up dead animals and trash. In fact, crows are often blamed for tipping trash cans, but the real culprits — they are usually raccoons or dogs.
Social structure and reproduction
Black crows most often form monogamous pairs that stay together for life. They breed in early spring, from March to April. In most cases, these pairs defend the same territory in which they live all year round. Some populations may migrate to the mating area.
Each nest consists of only one pair. However, about 3% of individuals participate in cooperative mating. In particular, in a population of northern Spain, cooperative mating has been shown to be present in most nests.
In most cases, assistive birds have been associated with a mating pair. In some cases, these breeding groups reached the size of fifteen birds, sometimes with chicks from several pairs. Due to the rarity of this, researchers have only recently begun to study the mechanics of breeding groups.
The breeding season of black crows begins at the end of March, the peak of laying — in the middle of April. When black crows mate, they often stay together for life, only being separated after death. However, in some cases only females have been seen paired, and males sometimes cheat.
Birds lay five or six greenish-olive eggs with darker flecks. Young crows can spend up to six years with their parents before they start living on their own.
As winter approaches, black crows gather in large roosting groups. These flocks can include tens of thousands of birds, and sometimes hundreds of thousands. Possible reasons for this seasonality — warmth, protection from predators such as owls, or information sharing. The black crow can live 13 years in the wild and over 20 years in captivity.
Natural enemies of black crows
The main predators or natural enemies of black crows are hawks and owls. Hawks attack, kill and eat them during the day, and owls come after them at night when they are in their hiding places. But crows also attack hawks and owls, although they don't eat them.
Crows seem to hate their natural enemies, and when they find one, they attack them in large, noisy groups in behavior called “mobbing”. A hawk or an owl that is crowded with crows always tries to get away to avoid trouble.
Black crows are often called fearless. They are capable of chasing eagles, which can weigh nine times as much as a crow. Despite their fearlessness, black crows are often still wary of humans, who are their biggest predator.
Black crows can significantly affect local bird populations by preying on their eggs. This indicates that they probably play a population control role in their ecosystem by reducing the brood size of other birds.
In addition, carrion crows consume carrion, but the significance of their contribution in this regard is unknown. The Great Spotted Cuckoo, Clamator glandariou, is a breeding parasite known to lay its eggs in the nests of its flock.
Population and species status
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), most crows are not endangered . Crow Flores is one of the exceptions. It is listed as a critically endangered species because it has a very small population that is declining as deforestation threatens its home on the Indonesian islands of Flores and Rinca.
The IUCN estimates its population to be between 600 and 1,700 mature individuals. The Hawaiian crow is extinct in the wild. The population of black crows, according to various estimates, ranges from 43 to 204 million and continues to grow. No efforts are currently being made to conserve the black crow species.
Although currently classified as a separate species, the black crow can interbreed with its cousin, and hybrids are found where their ranges overlap. In most of Ireland and Scotland, the gray-black crow replaces the black crow, in the border areas the two species mutually breed. It is still a mystery why there are two different species inhabiting neighboring climatic zones.
The black crow can be considered a natural regulator of bird populations, and to some extent it plays a useful role in increasing the chances of birds that can outwit. Of all the birds, the black crow is the most hated by the villagers who keep flocks of poultry, because it is the most cunning of the egg-stealing birds. Wild birds also suffer greatly from its devastation.
The Black Crow — one of the smartest and most adaptable birds. She is often quite fearless, although this can be wary of a person. They are quite solitary, usually found alone or in pairs, although they may form herds. Black crows will come to the gardens for food, and although they are often wary at first, they soon learn when it is safe to do so and return to take advantage of what is on offer.